A Tribute to “THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF” – Roger Moore’s finest hour | Den of Geek

The late, wonderful Roger Moore will always be remembered for Bond, but The Man Who Haunted Himself might just be his best performance…

Feature by Mark Allison

When Sir Roger Moore sadly passed away earlier this year, accounts of his life and career understandably focused on his seven spectacular outings as James Bond 007. Personally, I rewatched The Spy Who Loved Me for the 75th time, basking once again in his effortless charm and flawlessly tailored leisure suits.

Of his career outside the Bond franchise, many obituaries focused on his early television work in The Saint and The Persuaders!, in which he played similarly suave, elegantly dressed adventurers. But despite his own self-deprecation, Roger Moore’s acting abilities were more varied than one is often led to believe. His career extended far beyond the eyebrow-raising antics of the Bond films, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in The Man Who Haunted Himself, a wonderful psychological thriller from 1970.

This film, one of Moore’s personal favourites, showcases the actor in an entirely different light as Harold Pelham, a dull business executive in the City of London. Following a traumatic car crash on his way home from work, Pelham begins to believe that he is being stalked by his own evil doppelgänger. His suspicions are aroused when friends and colleagues claim to have seen him in two places at once, and they start to recount raucous nights out and extra-marital liaisons of which he has no memory. At first, Pelham assumes the phenomenon to be part of an elaborate practical joke, but he slowly begins to doubt his own sanity as his life crumbles around him.

The Man Who Haunted Himself was adapted from the 1957 novel The Strange Case Of Mr Pelham by Anthony Armstrong, which had previously formed the basis for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This version was written for the screen and directed by Basil Dearden, a veteran British film-maker of Ealing Studios stock, and was produced on a wafer-thin budget of around £400,000. Upon receiving the screenplay, Moore believed it to be “one of the best scripts I’d ever read”, and duly took a pay cut in exchange for a share of the film’s profits.

The movie plays out much like an episode of The Twilight Zone; Pelham’s seemingly unremarkable life gradually becomes more sinister and surreal as events proceed, eventually descending into a horrific climax. Indeed, the mise-en-scene maintains a sense of everyday realism as the peculiar story unfolds, which only adds to the growing sense of unease. Neither the audience nor Pelham himself are ever sure whether his doppelgänger is a genuinely physical presence, or merely the invention of a deranged mind, and the whole truth is only revealed during the film’s devastating final moments. It makes for a subtle but chillingly effective lesson in cinematic suspense.

Roger Moore claimed that The Man Who Haunted Himself was “one of the few times I was allowed to act”, which he acknowledged was “a terrible admission from someone who has made a living walking in front of cameras”. Looking back over his body of work, it’s difficult to argue with Moore’s appraisal. For anyone used to the sardonic quips and cocked eyebrows of the Bond films, this performance is a revelation. He palpably captures the escalating mania of an ordinary man driven out of his mind by events he cannot comprehend. In a role which could have succumbed to scenery chewing overstatement, Moore moves convincingly from confusion, to frustration, to anger, and finally, to madness. It invokes a tenderness which grounds an otherwise dreamlike narrative, making Pelham’s plight all the more credible.

Of course, the scenes in which Moore plays the evil twin allow him to stretch his legs into more familiar territory. He employs the same devilish charm and icy wit which characterised Simon Templar, Lord Brett Sinclair, and James Bond, but this time he adopts an altogether more menacing quality – as if providing a peak past the debonair exterior and into a malevolent soul. Put together, the two halves of Harold Pelham are utterly compelling, and provide a testament to Moore’s impressive range.

Despite Moore’s personal belief in the project, The Man Who Haunted Himself did not perform well financially, a fact which the actor blamed on an “amateurish” publicity campaign. Nevertheless, it has attained something of a cult status as years have passed, not least thanks to Sir Roger devotedly promoting the film on Twitter whenever it appeared on UK television. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, for example, has championed the title as Moore’s best film, and it has certainly aged better than most of his non-Bond filmography.

Much like Harold Pelham and his evil doppelgänger, Roger Moore was never able to shake his enduring identity with the role of James Bond, although this was a fact he came to embrace with characteristic self-awareness. Nevertheless, he continued to advocate The Man Who Haunted Himself as a demonstration of his talents, and a damn good thriller in its own right.

When I was privileged to see Roger Moore during his 2015 live tour, one of the few film clips he screened in its entirety was a scene from this film. His affection was instantly obvious as introduced the sequence with an enthusiastic preamble, like a child showing off their favourite painting. A few minutes later, once the extract had ended and the audience broke into applause, I noticed a delighted smile break across the actor’s face. There was no follow-up joke or sarcastic comment, as was Roger’s custom; this was merely an actor expressing pride in his work, and with good reason. The Man Who Haunted Himself is a terrific, chilling experience which holds up almost fifty years since its debut, with a career-best performance from one of the screen’s most charismatic presences. Sir Roger Moore may have left us, and the world is poorer for it, but there’s always more to discover about the great man and his legacy.

Source: A tribute to The Man Who Haunted Himself – Roger Moore’s finest hour | Den of Geek

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“Still after all these years the chemistry of performances in ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ highlights a beautiful texture throughout some of the writing. Story-wise, it’s quite a colourful journey which flows in a mysterious way across the audio palette.”

Tony G. Marshall
(“That’ll be the Stardust!” – Lead Voice Actor, Writer, Co-Producer).

“The Making of ‘THAT’LL BE THE STARDUST!'” – Documentary – Part 1:

“The Making of ‘THAT’LL BE THE STARDUST!'” – Documentary – Part 2:

“The following are a selection of audio links to some of the performance highlights of the radio drama production. I thoroughly enjoyed helping to bring to life the characters with the rest of my Cast. It was a labour of love to eventually get this thing off the ground for a job entertainingly well done. Enjoy the chosen scenes for your perusal!”
Tony G. Marshall


1.MRS MACLAINE (Alma Simpson (Reising)) & JEAN SUTCLIFFE (Holly Magrath (Harper)):

A well-acted opening scene by Alma and Holly, specially written for the radio drama. You can certainly feel the tension building between Ray Connolly’s characters (originally played by Rosemary Leach and Beth Morris in ‘That’ll be the Day’) – a great chemistry of angst and pleading…
2018-12-22 (1)

Jim (Dominic Connolly), Poetic echoes & “Big Boys Don’t Cry” whispers/demands (Erica Thomas-Lowe & Holly Magrath (Harper)), ‘Moans’, ‘Groans’ and other statements/questions (Madeleine Havell & April Harrison), Poetic Conscience (Tony G. Marshall):

A sequence of artistic beauty with its drug-addled psychedelic mix of poetic sexual overtones set to the music of Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”. This piece pays homage to Jim Maclaine’s poetry (as written by Ray Connolly for both the film and the novel of ‘That’ll be the Day’). A beautiful performance by 6 of the Cast which features Ray’s son, Dominic as the voice of the hallucinating Jim Maclaine. *Trivia*: Dominic played the young Jimmy Maclaine jr. on screen in ‘Stardust’ (1974)…

3. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & UNCLE TERRY (Richard Ward)

Another scene specially written for the radio drama. It was always a fascinating concept to have Jimmy jr. discussing the legacy of his father with his father’s former best friend, Terry Sutcliffe. Richard Ward delivers a fine performance here as Terry (originally played by Robert Lindsay in ‘That’ll be the Day’) creating an ambience which bites with an undercurrent of reluctance and regret. Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall – Part 1” assists with the haunting reflection of the scene… 

4. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & JEANETTE THORPE (Alma Simpson (Reising)):

Another great performance from Alma this time as Jimmy’s mother (originally played by Rosalind Ayres in ‘That’ll be the Day’ and its sequel, ‘Stardust’). Alma captures some of the cynical grit that Jeanette conveyed in the aforementioned sequel movie, but still maintains that certain motherly sweetness when advising her son – a good scene…!

The following six links of performances feature the voice acting talent of MADELEINE HAVELL. Maddie was the first recruit of the production and she is also featured in the ‘Making of…’ Documentary (see 2-part youtube links above at the start of this Showcase). Being one of the youngest members of the Cast at the time, her representation and delivery of approximately 8 characters in the radio drama are a great testament to her natural acting and voice talent – in particular her characterisation of ‘Julie Coleman’ (Jimmy’s girlfriend) and her interpretation of ‘Danielle’ (Jimmy’s father’s girlfriend from ‘Stardust’ originally played by french actress, Ines Des Longchamps). I sincerely hope you like and appreciate what we attempted to define and achieve for our characters in the respective scenes. (Footnote: As of July, 2019 – Madeleine has become a Cast member of “Dea Sancta et Gloria” lyrical prose rock opera production – to be recorded spring, 2020.)

5. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & JULIE COLEMAN (Madeleine Havell):

The first meeting between the characters has a unique setting. The chemistry begins to ignite right from the off. Madeleine’s portrayal of ‘Julie’ is perfect foil for Jimmy’s somewhat cheeky nature. She’s nice, approachable and we then discover she can certainly give as good as she gets…!

6. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & JULIE COLEMAN (Madeleine Havell):

Tensions mount between Jimmy and Julie when he takes her to visit his Mother’s and Step-father’s house in Scotland – the place where he grew up – when he reveals his locked bedroom full of memorabilia dedicated to his real father, Jim Maclaine. Alarm bells of concern begin to ring with clarity within Julie’s mind. Another great scene as Jimmy’s adult journey now begins to unfold. Julie’s straight-talking, but caring, nature for her man is well-executed by Madeleine which allows Jimmy’s sensitive and vulnerable disposition to be laced with an undercurrent of anger as he confuses Julie’s concern for a lack of understanding… 

7. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & JULIE COLEMAN (Madeleine Havell):

An opening narrative by Jimmy leads into an explosive scene with Julie as her concern for Jimmy’s mental health and wellbeing reaches its pinnacle. Jimmy is further overwhelmed by what he considers Julie’s lack of knowledge and empathy towards any matter regarding his father. I loved playing out this scene with Madeleine who conveys considerable depth of Julie’s serious concern and frustration. It’s the disturbing aspect of Jimmy’s denial which drives the passions in this scene…

8. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & FRENCH PROSTITUTE (Madeleine Havell):

Jimmy’s narrative commences with the revelation of the confirmation of him being in denial with everything regarding his father. However, it would appear that his statement is merely a close-guarded secret between him and his listening audience. Therefore, he is not likely to admit this to anyone publicly. The scene that follows is tinged with irony in the fact that it is set in a brothel in France – could be interpreted as an homage to the sleazy side of his father’s life as a Rock Star (?). A well-acted scene with the writing/dialogue allowing the fun chemistry to ooze between the characters…

9. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & DANIELLE (Madeleine Havell):

Jimmy’s narrative sets the scene beautifully for a more select region of France. We then cut to the actual scene in which Jimmy meets his father’s former girlfriend, Danielle (from “Stardust”(1974)). It’s a most intriguing meet and the nostalgia factor burns like an eternal candle. A touching, heartfelt scene in many ways as Jimmy continues to grasp for every last morsel of information about his father. Maddie as Danielle injects the scene with the correct balance of empathy and understanding toward Jimmy. If you’re a fan of both films then it’s a fascinating listen…

10. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & JULIE COLEMAN (Madeleine Havell):

Jimmy’s opening narrative conveys his blasé attitude toward his current lifestyle – displaying considerable arrogance especially toward the opposite sex. Then, his demeanour has a change of heart when his thoughts turn to Julie. An achingly beautiful scene unfolds between the two characters even with the added tension of strong language. At this juncture in the story, Jimmy & Julie had spent a considerable amount of time apart. I would say that this is one of my most favourite scenes of the radio drama because everything about it is beautifully played – including the accompanying musical backdrop of Dire Straits with “Romeo & Juliet”Madeleine turns in a most natural and quite vulnerable performance and the spark between both characters rekindles to the highest voltage – love it…!

11. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & CATHY MENARY (Holly Magrath (Harper)):

The following two links featuring Holly illustrate two different dynamics of scenes between the characters of Jimmy and Cathy: this first scene (following Jimmy’s cocksure narrative) plays out like something from an old 1930’s or 1940’s romance set to a musical landscape of encapsulating strings and chords. The scene depicts the start of the characters’ affair in which Holly as Cathy demands that Jimmy kiss her again…and again. I never expected Holly’s delivery to lead us into the aforementioned ‘old school’ territory and our Producer obviously heard something in our performances which inspired his choice of instrumental music – Interesting…
12. JIMMY (Tony G. Marshall) & CATHY MENARY (Holly Magrath (Harper)):

This next scene flips the coin on the previous scene following on from Jimmy’s narrative which both Cathy and her daughter’s individual affairs with Jimmy are referred to. Playing out almost Tarantino-esque dialogue, Holly as Cathy owns the proceedings once again as she conveys the seedier side of her lifestyle and therefore making Jimmy somewhat more vulnerable to the situation. Another fascinating dynamic between the characters – well-acted with lots of chemistry abound…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The complete original independent radio drama of
is now free to listen to online at the following ‘Cosmic’ link:

Copyright ©2014/2018 by Tony G. Marshall and Cosmic Dwellings. All Rights Reserved. “That’ll be the Stardust!” Radio Play Copyright ©2007, 2008 by Tony G. Marshall. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Actor, Documentary, Drama, Film, Music, Music, Online, Pop, Presentation, Production, Radio, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Story, Writer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

JANIS AND BIG BROTHER: Live at the Carousel Ballroom ’68 | Uncut Magazine

Fly on the psychedelic wall: The Bear’s sonic journals snag a masterpiece…
Somewhere within the sonic depths of this extraordinary concert tape’s opener, “Combination of the Two,” as James Gurley’s distorted guitar angles toward a kind of demented Coltrane-like climax, Janis Joplin gets off a series of whooping, exhortative screams — the kind borne of revelation or epiphany. It’s as if from the get-go she knew that Big Brother and the Holding Company — just two months from splintering into oblivion — was destined for immortality, on this night at least.

It’s the tip of the iceberg for Live At The Carousel Ballroom 1968, a tour de force of such fervor and intensity that it places Big Brother in its rightful perch as, perhaps, psychedelic San Francisco’s fiercest lysergic combo. A combustible group whose expansive sound defied the straitjacket of the studio, Big Brother—in the dumbed-down, Time-Life version of history—were simply a backing group, random bystanders who happened to launch Joplin into superstardom. But deep in the mythology of San Francisco’s psychedelic heyday, they were always a contender, an ensemble, capable of pushing all boundaries as rock grew burly in the late ’60s.

Fortunately for posterity, acid king Owsley “Bear” Stanley had the gumption to roll tape on June 23, 1968. Not just regular old tape, though. The Grateful Dead roadie and confidante had been running the mixing boards at the Carousel most of 1968, experimenting with the technology of best capturing the music via “sonic journals,” recordings made to document the scene and fine-tune the club’s sound.

This tape, in storage and/or legal limbo for decades but finally produced and mixed by Bear himself prior to his untimely death in 2011, is almost pugilistic in presentation. Amplifying every nuance, every kaleidoscopic shade from the roar of the guitars, every electrifying scrap of back-and-forth among the musicians in crystal-clear, full-dimensional fashion, it’s a transcendent, revelatory listen. The recording is so pure, so lively, in fact, that it virtually drops the listener into the Carousel on that summer night.

Big Brother’s roots, in truth, ran deep into American music. Bassist Peter Albin cut his teeth on folk and bluegrass; drummer Dave Getz was an in-demand jazz player; songwriter/guitarist Sam Andrew was well-versed in blues and jazz, a frequent jamming partner with Jerry Garcia, and along with James Gurley, developed a formidable double-lead guitar assault.

Only a year-plus into their brief reign, they had mongrelized their influences—twisting, stretching, and distorting R&B, blues, and folk motifs into a towering, multi-tentacled psychedelic monster. Adept at sustain and release, they were both sonic architects and masters of improv. Case in point is “I Need A Man To Love“, which begins with Andrew and Gurley’s guitars sneaking, curling around Joplin’s yearning, stinging, openly sexual vocal, before threading into a spellbinding, extended bit of call-and-response guitar interplay—a high-wire act pitting inner turmoil against just out-of-reach catharsis.

The aural carnage plays out repeatedly amid Joplin’s otherworldly vocals. Singing with all of hell’s fury, she pulls every last stitch of romantic desperation and deranged dejection out of the songs, pleading with herself, the cosmos, the audience, the coterie of cheats she’s been seeing, bending, torturing the words past literality into treams of pure emotion—exploding then crazily reassembling the blues paradigm.

Their repertoire is fascinating: pop standards, tripped-out and barely recognizable (i.e., Gershwin’s chestnut “Summertime”); ancient folk songs, like English ballad “Coo Coo,” hotwired into a psychedelic wall of sound; and showstoppers “Ball & Chain,” a smash at Monterey, and “Piece Of My Heart“, their most straightforwardly pop number and biggest hit single. “Catch Me Daddy” is the most violent cut, souped-up psycho-rockabilly, while “Down on Me,” amid jagged guitars, is a nod to folk/rock. “Light Is Faster than Sound,” a Peter Albin showpiece from their debut album, is most allegiant to proto-psychedelia—dual guitars making like air-raid sirens, rising up from the scrum, screaming as they go by, only to submerge themselves again. When Joplin’s vocal fades, Gurley’s rampaging guitar emerges with a shattering solo, a marvel of controlled chaos.

No one could’ve known it, but this was one of the last blinding flashes of the original psychedelic era. Ominous changes were afoot, “not better world a-comin’,” as critic Paul Nelson once opined. Like a tunnel into an alien world, Live at the Carousel offers a trenchant if temporary trip back.

Luke Torn


Big Brother’s Sam Andrew

What is your best memory of this show and the Carousel Ballroom? Of Bear?

The Carousel was a large, cavernous space, dark, high ceilings and it seemed as if all my friends were there. Owsley Stanley was cavorting around the sound system and talking to me a mile a minute in a technical language that was quite beyond me. Bear was always an enthusiastic mix of the cerebral and the celebratory.

How much of the Big Brother sound was improv?

In Big Brother we began as pure improvisation and moved steadily toward a scripted music. That’s how I think of it anyway. Janis was a very creative singer, and I can tell what night we are doing “Summertime”, just because it is so different from another night. We took a lot of chances because, (a) that’s who we were, and (b) we often didn’t know any better.

Big Brother broke up soon after this great show. What were y’all thinking?!

We were not thinking. Janis was restless. She wanted to be a soul singer like Tina, Aretha, Gladys, and I was thinking about songwriting ALL the time. We had a lot of discussions about the band and she felt that on some nights, people weren’t trying hard enough. I wish I would have tried harder to talk her out of leaving the band.


Source: Big Brother & The Holding Company – Live At The Carousel Ballroom 1968 – Uncut

Posted in Album, Album, Art Rock, Blues, CD, CD, Concert, Folk, Live, Music, Musician, Performer, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Singer, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE BEATLES: How ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Changed The Face Of Music | uDiscover

These days, game-changers are everywhere, in every facet of our society, yet there was a time when people really had no idea what they were. In 1967 along came Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the eighth studio album by The Beatles… it was the musical game-changer. Prior to 1 June 1967, the day that Sgt. Pepper was released, long-playing records were firmly under the control of record labels, who thought they knew best as to what the fans wanted, and when they wanted it.

The making of The Beatles’ eighth studio album had begun a little over six months earlier, on 20 November 1966, when they began work on two songs in Abbey Road Studio Two which they felt were perfect for their next LP. The songs were ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, written by John Lennon and inspired by a place in Liverpool, and by way of juxtaposition, Paul McCartneys composition which also referred to a real location close to his childhood home – Penny Lane.

Work continued on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ during December, as well as recording sessions for ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ which was also to be included on the new album. Recording for ‘Penny Lane’ began two days before New Year’s Eve and was completed nearly three weeks later. The Beatles’ previous single, ‘Yellow Submarine’/‘Eleanor Rigby’, had been released in early August 1966, and so EMI were anxious for another. ‘Penny Lane’/’Strawberry Fields’ came out on 17 February 1967 after a 196-day wait – the longest time between single releases since the start of their career.                                                

Recording continued on the new album in January, with the first of many sessions for ‘A Day In The Life’, and then on 1 February they began work on one of Paul’s songs, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The new LP had a name and a loose concept, in so far as the band pretended they were giving a show as this fictitious band.

By the time their new single was released they were underway with ‘Good Morning Good Morning’, ‘Fixing a Hole’, ‘Only A Northern Song’ (a George Harrison song that he had originally put forward for inclusion on the album) and ‘Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite’. In the midst of all this recording, The Beatles also filmed their groundbreaking videos for both ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

Over the next two months work continued on Sgt. Pepper’s remaining songs – ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’, ‘Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds’, ‘Getting Better’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘Within You Without You’ and ‘Lovely Rita’ – and the album was completed on 21 April. In all, The Beatles, George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick spent 700 hours on the making of the record.

Of course, time expended does not guarantee either creativity or a brilliant result, but every second was worth it. And don’t just take our word for it: Professor Kevin J Dettmar, writing in the Oxford Encyclopedia Of British Literature, says Sgt. Pepper is “the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded”. We all know that polls don’t matter, but Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No.1 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

And yet it could all have been so very different. In the early Spring of 1967, the UK press was full of reports with headlines such as “Has the Bubble Burst?” or “Beatles Fail To Reach The Top”, all because ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ had stalled at No.2 in the UK singles chart. At manager Brian Epstein’s insistence neither track was included on the LP, a decision that George Martin later described as “the biggest mistake of my professional life”.

What makes the album a game-changer?

The unprecedented time spent in the studio helped to make it so, as do the recording techniques developed by the Abbey Road technicians to give the Beatles more than just the basic four-track equipment that had been used previously. Add to this “flanging”, the use of vari-speed, the way the record was not mastered with the customary gaps between tracks and the use of crossfades on a couple of tracks. And then there’s Peter Blake’s artwork that is so redolent of the time, not forgetting the fact that a lyric sheet was included with the gatefold sleeve. And, of course, great songs, brilliantly performed

Sgt. Pepper’s was the first Beatles album to be issued simultaneously worldwide, and the first where the tracklistings were exactly the same for both the UK and US versions. It debuted in the UK at No.1 – where it stayed for 22 consecutive weeks and became the soundtrack to The Summer Of Love. Naturally, it was also No.1 in America, as it was in many countries around the world.

Rock and pop has never quite been the same again…

The Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue is out now. Scroll down to read what’s in each version, along with the full tracklisting for the super deluxe box set, and order the reissue here.

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The various versions of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue are:

Standard CD:
The new 2017 stereo mix, complete with the original UK album’s “edit for LP end” run-out groove.

Deluxe 2CD (and digital edition):
The new stereo album mix on Disc One, plus a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album.

Disc Two also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of ‘Penny Lane’, plus the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased complete takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

Deluxe 2LP:
The new stereo album mix on Disc One and previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album, on Disc Two.

Super Deluxe 4CD+DVD+Blu-ray:
CD1 features the new 2017 stereo album mix.

CDs 2 and 3 include 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most of which are previously unreleased and have been mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates, plus the new 2017 stereo mix of ‘Penny Lane’ and the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

CD4 features a direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix, plus the ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ singles, along with the US promo mono mix of ‘Penny Lane’ and previously unreleased early mono mixes of ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘A Day If The Life’ and the once-thought-lost early mono mix of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.

The DVD and Blu-ray discs both include new 5.1 surround sound audio mixes of the album and ‘Penny Lane’ by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround sound mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, along with high-resolution audio mixes of the album, ‘Penny Lane’ and the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Field Forever’.

Additionally, these discs will include 4K restored promo clips for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘A Day In The Life’, plus The Making Of Sgt Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film originally broadcast in 1992.

The full tracklist for the super deluxe edition box set is:

  • CD1: St Pepper’s 2017 stereo mix
    ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
    ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’
    ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’
    ‘Getting Better’
    ‘Fixing A Hole’
    ‘She’s Leaving Home’
    ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’
    ‘Within You Without You’
    ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’
    ‘Lovely Rita’
    ‘Good Morning Good Morning’
    ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’
    ‘A Day In The Life’ 
  • CD2: Outtakes
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 1]
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 4]
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 7]
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 26]
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [2015 stereo mix]
    ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ [Take 2]
    ‘Penny Lane’ [Take 6: instrumental]
    ‘Penny Lane’ [Vocal overdubs and speech]
    ‘Penny Lane’ [2017 stereo mix]
    ‘A Day In The Life’ [Take 1]
    ‘A Day In The Life’ [Take 2]
    ‘A Day In The Life’ [Orchestra overdub]
    ‘A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord)’ [Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11]
    ‘A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)’
    ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ [Take 1: instrumental]
    ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ [Take 9 and speech]
    ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ [Take 1: instrumental, breakdown]
    ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ [Take 8] 
  • CD3: Outtakes
    ‘Fixing A Hole’ [Take 1]
    ‘Fixing A Hole’ [Speech and Take 3]
    ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’ [Speech from before Take 1; Take 4 and speech at end]
    ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’ [Take 7]
    ‘Lovely Rita’ [Speech and Take 9]
    ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Take 1 and speech at the end]
    ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Speech, false start and Take 5]
    ‘Getting Better’ [Take 1: instrumental and speech at the end]
    ‘Getting Better’ [Take 12]
    ‘Within You Without You’ [Take 1: Indian Instruments Only]
    ‘Within You Without You’ [George coaching the musicians]
    ‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Take 1: instrumental]
    ‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Take 6: ynstrumental]
    ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ [Take 1: false start; Take 2: instrumental]
    ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’ [Speech and Take 8] 
  • CD4: Sgt Pepper’s and bonus tracks in mono
    Tracks 1-13: 2017 direct transfer of Sgt Pepper’s original mono mix)
    ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Original mono mix]
    ‘Penny Lane’ [Original mono mix]
    ‘A Day In The Life’ [Unreleased first mono mix]
    ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Unreleased mono mix: No.11]
    ‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Unreleased first mono mix]
    ‘Penny Lane’ [Capitol Records US promo single: mono mix] 
  • DVD and Blu-ray:
    Audio Features (both discs):
    New 5.1 surround sound audio mixes of Sgt Pepper’s and ‘Penny Lane’, plus 2015 5.1 surround sound mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1; DVD: DTS Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • High-resolution audio versions of 2017 Sgt Pepper’s stereo mix and 2017 ‘Penny Lane’ stereo mix, plus 2015 ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ hi-res stereo mix (Blu-ray: LPCM Stereo 96KHz/24bit; DVD: LPCM Stereo)
  • Video Features (both discs):
    The Making Of Sgt Pepper [restored 1992 documentary film, previously unreleased]
  • Promotional films: ‘A Day In The Life’; ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’ [4K restored]

Source: How The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Changed The Face Of Music | uDiscover

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ENGELBERT: Tin Pan Alley, Country Pop & The Indestructible ‘Release Me’ – uDiscover

Vocal stylist Engelbert Humperdinck has been talking to uDiscover about the remarkable body of work that’s celebrated by today’s (19 May) release of the compilation Engelbert Humperdinck: 50 and the simultaneous The Complete Decca Studio Albums Collection. He discusses how he used to search for new material, how he crossed country music into the pop charts — and how there might be a new Engelbert studio album in the pipeline. The 50 compilation, which you can order here, is a two-CD, 39-track retrospective featuring all of the Grammy-winning singer’s biggest hits, in a career that has realised 150 million record sales worldwide. It also includes a new DBU Disco Remix of ‘Release Me’ and two brand new songs, ‘I Don’t Want To Call It Goodbye’ and ‘I Followed My Heart’. “It’s an amazing presentation, I think,” says Humperdinck. “I can’t believe how well it’s been done, and we’ve got a couple of new songs on there, plus the remix of ‘Release Me.’ The new songs were just both a propos, so we put them both on the album, and they’re great songs, well-written.”

The 11-album box set (click here to order) is available physically but also makes these albums available digitally for the first time. “I like the idea of the vinyl covers remaining the same in digital form now,” he observes. “Not giving it a different face, giving it the same face, only packaging it in a very contemporary way. It’s wonderful.”

Musing on the remarkable history of ‘Release Me,’ he recalls the long history of the Eddie Miller/Robert Yount composition even before he got near it. Written in 1949, the song was successful for a number of artists before it transformed Engelbert’s career in 1967. It became the UK’s bestselling single of that year, famously preventing The Beatles‘ ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ double A-side from reaching No. 1.

“It was a big hit before I got it, a country hit by Ray Price,” says the vocalist. “On stage he said ‘This was my song until Engelbert Humperdinck came along and made it a hit around the world.’ I heard it as an instrumental by a gentleman called Frank Weir. I just heard the melody and I said to Gordon Mills, who was my manager at that time, ‘That’s a hit song.'”

“When it was given to Charles Blackwell and he did that amazing arrangement that is so recognisable, even that introduction gives it meaning. Everybody knows it’s ‘Release Me’ before it starts.”

“My early years were very exciting for me,” he continues. “Fortunately, I had Gordon beside me, guiding my career. He was a manager that was very musically-minded. He also wrote a lot of my b-sides. He was a great manager.”

The album collection affords the opportunity to recall the wide range of material that Engelbert recorded beyond his well-known hits,. He would often interpret existing material, put his stamp on recent chart successes for others (from ‘Wand’rin’ Star’ to ‘Aquarius’), and put the spotlight on some songs of historical importance.

“We all hung out in Tin Pan Alley, many times, looking for material for new albums,” he recalls. “But then once you have a hit record, it changes the picture and people start to send you a lot of songs. You don’t have to go looking anymore. That was one of the great things about having hit songs,” he laughs. “It makes life a little bit easier.”

His first Decca album of 1967, also called Release Me, featured a version of ‘Misty Blue,’ which had recently been a country hit for Wilma Burgess but became better-known to later audiences from Dorothy Moore’s soulful interpretation of 1976. “I love that song, it’s a real Nashville song,” enthuses Humperdinck.

“We didn’t go totally country, we went country pop, which is the best way to go, if you’re not a country singer yourself. Some of my hits, like ‘Am I That Easy To Forget’ and ‘There Goes My Everything,’ they were country material which was used before, but I took it and made them hits.” Another fascinating country entry is his reading of the Bee Gees‘ song ‘Sweetheart,’ which became the title song of his 1971 Decca album.

Humperdinck has fond memories of the recording techniques of this album era. “I like the method we used, because the arranger would come, you would routine it, then he’d take it away and the next time you see it, it’s in the studio with all these wonderful musicians and singers.”

“Then they went to another method where they just gave you a rhythm track, and you’d put your voice on that, but I never liked that method. I always liked the entire arrangement, the bed of music, to lie on, because it lends your voice to going in so many different directions, and I think that’s one of the reasons that brought success to these albums in the early years.”

Arrangers were, and remain, key to his distinctively luxuriant sound. “Arrangers of the past, they were just brilliant musicians themselves,” he says. “People like Les Reed, he wrote great songs for me like ‘The Last Waltz,’ ‘Les Bicyclettes de Belsize,’ ‘Winter World Of Love,’ some massive hits that came from him.”

“I’ve started to work with an arranger I worked with about 50 years ago, his name is Johnny Harris. He did great stuff for me like ‘Quando Quando Quando,’ that’s his arrangement. And he did the track for ‘I Follow My Heart,’ one of the new songs on the CD. It is harder to come by great songs [now], but I can honestly say that the two new ones are in this fashion.”

At 81, Engelbert’s diary continues to be packed. “A whole new album is in store, of new songs,” he reveals, but before that, there are many more shows to fulfill in his datebook, starting in June in Bucharest, Romania. “I love it. There’s not many places in the world I haven’t been, but I’m going to Iceland, I haven’t been there before, or Romania. But I’ve been everywhere else. ‘I’ve been everywhere, man…’” he sings with a chuckle.

“You do get that little nervousness when you play countries like Russia, but the funny part — although I have to have an interpreter on stage to do my talking for me — but the songs themselves, they tend to sing them in some phonetical fashion, and they sing along with you, it’s amazing.”

Of the double CD and box set packages, he concludes: “For the people that haven’t heard my music before, it’s going to be quite an eye-opener, because it does lend itself to great compositions and great arrangements. The entire package is so well done.”

Click here to order Engelbert Humperdinck: 50.

Click here to order The Complete Decca Studio Albums Collection.  


Source: Tin Pan Alley, Country Pop & The Indestructible ‘Release Me’: Engelbert Humperdinck Talks To uDiscover – uDiscover

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WOODSTOCK: How the Soundtrack Highlighted Peace, Love and Hippie Music | Ultimate Classic Rock

By Dave Swanson May 11, 2015 2:24 PM

Source: How the ‘Woodstock’ Soundtrack Highlighted Peace, Love and Hippie Music

The Woodstock festival was experienced by “half a million strong,” as the song goes. But the movie and its soundtrack brought the “Three Days of Peace and Music” counterculture celebration to millions of people across the globe.

Released in May 1970, eight months after the festival took place in New York, the film’s soundtrack cemented the legacy of ’60s music and added a dash of idealism for years to come. The triple-LP set was unleashed to an audience enamored with that moment in time, hoping to catch a contact high of sorts.

The performances released on the record were only a fraction of the music experienced over those three August 1969 days, but as a snapshot of the event, it more than delivers, as many of them would become iconic portraits, lasting far longer than many other touchstones of the era.

Even though they were a rough and tumble blues band at their core, Canned Heat are best know for the light and bouncy “Going Up the Country,” a song that’s become synonymous with Woodstock. And its presence here is crucial. As is Richie Havens’ “Freedom.” The New York City folksinger brought an intensity to his performance that perfectly captured the spirit of the event and will forever be tied to the music fest.

See Crosby, Stills & Nash Perform ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’:

Crosby, Stills Nash and Young were so new when they played Woodstock that Stephen Stills noted onstage, “This is only the second time we’ve performed in front of people. We’re scared s—less.” Three of their songs show up on the soundtrack: “Suite: Judy Blues Eyes,” “Wooden Ships” and “Sea of Madness.”

Country Joe & the Fish were among the pioneers of psychedelic music (their debut album, Electronic Music for Mind and Body, is a genuine genre landmark), they are best remembered for their Woodstock appearance, in which they delivered not only the infamous “Fish Cheer” (“Give me an F! Give me a U! Give me a C! Give me a K! What’s that’s spell?“) but also the rousing “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” which originally appeared on the band’s second album, but becomes one of the era’s greatest protest songs thanks to the Joe McDonald-led singalong.

Several of the acts at Woodstock had also appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival two years earlier, including Jimi Hendrix and the Who, both of whom made their U.S. debuts at the 1967 show. By the time they each played Woodstock, they were among the biggest artists in rock music, The Who’s performance here is nothing if not riveting, as they play material from the recently released Tommy.

Watch the Who Perform at Woodstock:

One of the most surprising and baffling groups to appear at the festival, Sha Na Na, went on right before Hendrix on the morning of the final day. They turn in a blazing version of Danny & the Juniors’ ’50s classic “At the Hop,” which seemed seriously out of step with everything else going on in 1969. This was several years before American Graffiti ushered in a wave of nostalgia. Either way, Sha Na Na completely won over the Woodstock audience.

Two San Francisco bands — Santana and Jefferson Airplane — turned in significant performances from different angles. The latter group was on the way down while the former was just making its mark. Santana’s Woodstock performance helped break their career.

But the festival’s most defining performances belong to Hendrix and Joe Cocker, whose take on the Beatles‘ “A Little Help From My Friends” would help cement both his and Woodstock’s legacies. Likewise, Hendrix’s famous take on the “Star-Spangled Banner” has become inseparable from the festival.

The album was a huge success, topping the Billboard chart and helping kick-start the careers of many of the artists who appeared. It also carried remnants of the Woodstock ideology into middle America, planting its seeds along the way. It was a moment in time that still resonates today.

Read More: How the ‘Woodstock’ Soundtrack Highlighted Peace, Love and Hippie Music | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/woodstock-soundtrack/?trackback=tsmclip

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BOWIE: How I discovered a secret in the Blackstar sleeve | The Vinyl Factory

How I discovered a secret in Bowie’s Blackstar sleeve – and how you can too –

The Vinyl Factory – the Home of VinylThe secret of Blackstar’s starfield revealed by the man who found it.

Earlier this week one Reddit user sent Bowie fans scrambling home to try and uncover a secret cosmos, hidden in the sleeve of Blackstar.

Released just days before his death, Bowie’s final album has been shrouded in mystery. This latest bonus detail was discovered on gatefold sleeve, which features a star-shaped cut-out that, if exposed to sunlight, reveals a constellation of stars.

How did it take four months to unveil this secret? Dwaine Butters, the man who made the discovery, isn’t sure either. “I still cant believe I’m the first person to realise this little trick,” he said to us.

“I was sat listening to Blackstar, reading the lyrics in the book. I then picked up the sleeve to look at the prints on the inside and on the front cover. That’s when I noticed a slight gold mark in theBlackstar so I held it up to see if it was a print mistake and that’s when the whole star filled with the gold stars. I knew right away it was because the sunlight was passing through the back of the front cover.

“If people would like to see it, it’s as simple as removing the record from the sleeve so that the cut-out black star is not obstructed then holding it up to a light source with the gatefold open.”

There’s been some debate about whether the design feature was intentional or not. Bowie’s son and film director Duncan Jones was apparently unaware of the trick, saying his father was “so clever” and “so missed” after the starry surprise was uncovered.

According to Butters, a friend of his spoke to sleeve designer Jonathan Barnbrook who confirmed its intent. “He has confirmed that I am the first person he knows of to notice it. Which is kind of surreal. It’s even more surreal how much it has been shared around the world. It just goes to show the impact one man had.”

How I discovered a secret in Bowie’s Blackstar sleeve – and how you can too

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ELVIS: Sun in Vegas

by Tony G. Marshall


A rare and fascinating public moment occurred as Elvis Presley began a brief reflective backtrack to his musical roots from the stage of the Las Vegas Hilton when he saw someone in the audience holding a copy of the then recently released British compilation album, “The Sun Collection” (aka “The Sun Sessions” (RCA USA, 1976)). “Can I see that album for a second?” he asked the owner of the record as the eye-catching cover art held his attention, I have never seen it before … The Sun Collection?”  he continued as he browsed some of its contents from the stage: “That’s the first five records I recorded!”

This initial RCA UK vinyl album release was just as much a revelation as its subject’s coincidental discovery of it on that evening of December 13th, 1975. Primarily, it was the first official almost-comprehensive overview of the groundbreaking material crafted by Elvis exactly two decades before at the legendary Sun Studio in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. With the likes of “Harbor Lights”, “Tomorrow Night” (undubbed) and “When It Rains, It Really Pours” (out-take) – a mixture of blues and balladry – still unreleased at the time, this collection prominently underlined the sum of its stylistic achievements. It was the sound which spearheaded the infusion of country and western with rhythm and blues music (referred to as Rockabilly) and became a pioneering style of the Rock ‘n’ Roll movement of the mid-1950’s. Presley, along with lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black transformed the sound of the genre with their upbeat interpretations: from Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup’s “That’s All Right (Mama)” to Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, from Arthur Gunter’s “Baby, Let’s Play House” to Sydney Robin & The Shelton Brothers’ “Just Because”. It was the Sun Recording Company who had Presley under contract and released his early songs as singles masterminded by Sun owner and producer/engineer, Sam Phillips who was first made aware of Presley’s voice by Marion Keisker – the secretary of his Memphis Recording Service which was a subsidiary of the Sun Records label. It was here that Presley cut his first acetate demo soon after he graduated from Humes High School in 1953. From the date of his first ‘official’ recording session with Sun on July 5, 1954 through to RCA buying up his recording contract for an unprecedented sum of $35,000 in November, 1955, music history had already been made. 

FTD Dinner At EightWhen Elvis Presley played his first ever engagement in Las Vegas in April/May, 1956 it stifled him – just as much as Elvis, aged 21 at the time, stifled it! This 2-week stay at the New Frontier Hotel was performed for mostly a sophisticated adult audience who were far from the biggest fans of Rock ‘n’ Roll music. However, by the time Elvis began his 14th engagement at the Hilton Hotel in December of 1975 he had already broken several attendance records in the main showroom which had begun in July, 1969. The times had changed, and so had the type of song set-list Elvis now presented to his audience. The show now featured a number of contemporary songs which included pop, gospel and big ballad arrangements, but his classic rock hits were always a staple of his concerts and whilst not being the most focused of performances, his audiences always appreciated his acknowledgement of them. By 1975 Elvis had already become the ultimate versatile showman and his sold-out concert tours that year (including Vegas seasons) continued to top the listings of the top best-selling artists to see perform live. When he saw that copy of ‘The Sun Collection’ album at the Dinner Show of December 13th, 1975 it considerably raised his interest enough for him to ask to see it. Perhaps it triggered a time for reflection, or at least just for a moment or two, which was spontaneously shared with his audience. Of all the 16 Sun tracks compiled on the album, it appeared that 3 of them were still on his performance set-list in 1975 – namely, “That’s All Right (Mama)”, “Mystery Train” and “Tryin’ To Get To You”. It’s a great testament to these groundbreaking classics, along with the vast majority of his musical repertoire, that they forever stand the test of time. 

You can experience Elvis’ Las Vegas Dinner Show of 12/13/75, which includes that unique ‘Sun’ moment, on the Follow That Dream Collectors’ label CD entitled “Dinner At Eight”

The written content and style in this not-for-profit article is owned by Cosmic Dwellings/Tony G. Marshall. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2016 Tony G. Marshall/Cosmic Dwellings.
Posted in Album, Blues, Country, Guitar, Live, Music, musician, Pop, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly, Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BILL HALEY: Saddlemen and Comets

by Tony G. Marshall

Rock the Joint front cover

My first taste of the rock n’ roll music of Bill Haley and His Comets came via the original opening theme of the nostalgic American comedy series, “Happy Days” (1974 – 1984) namely “Rock Around The Clock” followed by a viewing of the 1956 movie of the same name which was shown on British television sometime in the late 1970’s. Intermingled with all this was the experience of listening to further hits of the band albeit infrequently on various radio stations. Sometime around 1980 I first saw a copy of “Rock The Joint!” – a 10″ album (the first of its format I’d ever seen) released by Rollercoaster Records with fabulous retro cover artwork, and through the back cover sleeve essay I discovered that there were more facets to Bill Haley’s early career than I had previously imagined: primarily, starting out as a ‘Hillbilly’ musician with a group called ‘The Down Homers’ in the 1940’s followed by his tenure fronting the band known as The Four Aces of Western Swing. Subsequently, Haley went on to form his own group known as The Saddlemen and it was Bill and The Saddlemen who, at their first recording session for the Holiday label in 1951, recorded a version of the song which is considered to be the first ever rock and roll record – “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. The following year the Holiday label became known as the Essex label, and it’s most of these early releases featuring Bill Haley & The Saddlemen/Bill Haley and His Comets from 1952 – 53 which are compiled on this “Rock The Joint!” album. The title track of the album was the band’s first single release on Essex and five years later became a hit in the UK charts. However, it was the song “Crazy Man, Crazy”, written by Bill himself and released as ‘Bill Haley With Haley’s Comets’ on the label in 1953, which became the band’s first national hit and also bears the distinction of being the first  rock and roll recording to appear on the national American music charts. 

Rock The Joint / Rocking Chair On The Moon / Farewell, So Long, Goodbye / Fractured / Stop Beatin’ Around The Mulberry Bush.

Crazy Man, Crazy / Pat-a-Cake / I’ll Be True / Whatcha Gonna Do? / Dance With A Dolly.

Bill+Haley++The+Comets+Rock+Around+The+Clock+288197My actual first ever Haley/Comets album purchase was originally released in 1968 on the Hallmark label (Sonet/Pickwick in the US) with such an iconic cover and simply entitled “Rock Around The Clock”. The album featured 9 of the band’s greatest hits along with 1 of the most recent recordings (“Ling-Ting-Tong”) from this period. I didn’t realise it at the time but the majority of the songs featured on the album were re-recordings of their classic hits and the arrangements in the songs were basically the same as the originals. Therefore, it was an enjoyable listening experience for myself and a welcome addition to my vinyl collection. The album release coincided with the nostalgic Rock n’ Roll revival that was gradually taking shape amidst the psychedelic and acid rock-infused musical landscape of the late sixties. It also served as a period piece for another time in which a white country & western and rhythm & blues enthusiast changed the face of popular music by making his own musical cocktail acceptable in the mainstream for a new generation of rock and roll fans to drink up. At the time of the original Haley and The Comets’ recordings of some of the songs featured on this album, Elvis Presley & the Blue Moon Boys were beginning to shake up the Southern regional sanctums of entertainment with their own brand of rocking interpretations of old country and r n’ b standards which came to be identified with ‘Rockabilly’. Subsequently, Presley further developed the blueprint of Haley’s ‘acceptable’ white Rock n’ Roll style with his black-sounding voice and uptempo heavy beat style which in turn heralded the start of a new musical revolution in worldwide popular culture. 

Rock Around The Clock / Skinny Minnie / Ling-Ting-Tong / Rock The Joint / Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie.

See You Later Alligator / Flip, Flop And Fly / Love Letters In The Sand / The Saints Rock And Roll / Shake, Rattle & Roll. 

The written content and style in this not-for-profit article is owned by Cosmic Dwellings/Tony G. Marshall. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2016 Tony G. Marshall/Cosmic Dwellings.
Posted in Album, Music, musician, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


 Cosmic Dwellings proudly presents a special tribute which has been specially-approved by best-selling author, Raymond Benson in collaboration with writer Tony G. Marshall

For the Love of Judy...

“Judy is a fantastic character, and Benson absolutely nails the way women write in their diaries. I think this sort of strong woman will be enormously appealing to female readers. The action is great, and Benson writes in a voice that’s accessible and engaging.”

       TASHA ALEXANDER  ( ‘Dangerous to Know’ )

“A beautiful character who not only attempted to do something about the violence on the streets, but also addressed the torture within her own strangled heart…We love you, Judy!”

  TONY G. MARSHALL (‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ , ‘GOLD1E’)


The following article is inspired by a very special version of ‘The Twelfth of Never’ (below) and pays tribute to author, Raymond Benson’s crime-fighting character of ‘The Black Stiletto’ from the critically-acclaimed 5-book serial. Writer, Tony G. Marshall hosts this special tribute straight from the heart – ‘For the Love of Judy’

April 12th, 2008… 

The package arrived just before 9am; I left it on the table for later. Overnight, I completed writing ‘The Highest Steeple’ – another radio drama in which I billed myself in the lead voice role; however, I wasn’t happy with it. Now, I needed a morning walk to refresh the senses. Today was the twelfth – it was circled on the calendar as the birthday anniversary of my late grandmother – Mary Marshall.
           Outside, I wondered if grandma had ever experienced any of her birthdays walking through a thin coating of snow scattered across April countryside; one thing’s for certain – it was more of a shock rather than a ‘melting heart’ moment in early spring – difficult to comprehend the romance of it all as I was glad to see the back of January and February. Some sporadic clusters of bluebells already in semi-bloom will give hope to a new season once the snow is melted. If the overstayed welcome of winter is to continue then more than likely the roses will have their fair share of early morning dew in the form of April showers. The scent of the clover would be a most appreciated freshness through the dale, as opposed to the considerable smell of ice cold atmosphere that ascended from underneath my footsteps. As I continued my walk, a light bulb went on (inside my head, that is!): I realised what was missing in ‘The Highest Steeple’! It was a combination of both nature and human nature elements that somehow I had overlooked…then, another element displayed its physical presence before me, rising above several rooftops of a nearby housing estate and between a huddle of almost bare tree tops which framed the scene of coldness: a church spire ignited my imagination like a powerful flame of an inspirational ‘beacon’ on a writer’s creative landscape. I walked towards the protruding structure as the slight intrusion of a morning sun appeared to ignite its presence on this snowy day of early spring… 

After breakfast, and before preparing to re-evaluate the draft of ‘The Highest Steeple’, I decided to unwrap the Amazon ‘treat’ that had arrived through the post earlier: ‘The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection’ – 9 Disc DVD set. You see, my main reason for this purchase was to hopefully gain some form of inspiration in developing the so-called ‘heroes’ that populated my aforementioned radio drama script. However, my characters were not ‘Superheroes’ – they were normal human beings who didn’t possess any kind of ‘superpowers’ to wield against any adversary whilst pursuing their quest for justice and peace. Furthermore, being inspired by the natural surroundings of my walk earlier had instilled in me the quest to highlight the more human aspects of the story. Nevertheless, “The Man of Steel” was to prove a fine starting point whilst undertaking my research – afterall, he did possess core elements of a human character. 

                 Perusing the contents of the discs gave me a feeling of sheer delight knowing that the original Fleischer/Famous Studios cartoons were all present and correct as extra features. These gems, made during the second World War and based on the character’s comic book exploits which began in Action Comics #1 in June, 1938, reminded me of when I was a child in the seventies and became a fan of these long-running comics along with Superman’s very own self-titled tome, both at which point had surpassed their thirty-something year in publication. For, it was my Grandmother who had introduced me to such colourful costumed performers of fantastical worlds and beyond, directly from the newspaper racks of the local newsagent; she was the one who appeared to be on ‘comic book duty’ in our household. Therefore, she played the major part of introducing an essentially fun aspect of my reading development through the ‘Bronze Age of Comic Books’. It was at this stage that the stories were returning to address the more social and cultural issues which had originally set the tone in the ‘Golden Age’ but with the inclusion of a somewhat darker twist, and also eliminated some of the more ‘campier’ aspects introduced during the ‘Silver Age’


When you strip away all the special armour and fx of a story, and character, it all leads back to a major element of the whole concept: the human condition. For example, no matter how much ‘super’ there was in Superman, back in the beginning, his interaction with the relevant cultural issues brought him back to that realistic human element – thanks in part to ‘Clark Kent’. Furthermore, ‘The Batman’ gave us a better sense of humanity in the form of being a vigilante on the streets, a crime-busting detective, ‘The Caped Crusader’ or even moreso –  ‘The Dark Knight’.  Batman doesn’t have any special superpowers – he should not really be labelled as a total ‘superhero’.  He was a professionally-trained martial artist who possessed considerable technological intelligence. And, it would appear that his story reboot in the ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ of recent years has successfully married together those human elements of a tortured soul who happens to be a billionaire industrialist who in turn invests money into becoming his crime-fighting alter-ego whenever required to do so. It is the basis of this human persona which so appeals within the depiction of these classic stories and is forever blessed with youthful nostalgia. 

            Perhaps it was a great sense of nostalgia to my Grandma which became the reason for introducing me to the comic book, coupled with the fact that it was a favourite reading past-time for every Grandson on the planet! Undoubtedly, she had witnessed a vast amount of comic book crime-fighters and superheroes across all the mediums: film, television and radio. Some of these characters had also been ‘Pulp’ heroes via novels and newspaper strips before making their mark in the comic book fraternity, and maybe Grandma was curious to see how these characters had developed since she was first made aware of them. Some of them donned similar styles of disguise, and consequently these disguises evolved into concepts of further outlandish ‘threads’ to suit the style of the modern-day crime-fighting hero; furthermore, in some cases, these ‘threads’ were ‘criminal-proof’. These days, the resurgence of the more flamboyant superheroes in their very own updated/rebooted action films has proven to be a successful ‘crime-fighting’ formula for several filmmakers and studios. Even so, I’m not certain what Grandma would make of them today; I would hazard a guess that she would probably hark back to the ‘Golden Age’ and say: “They don’t make ‘um like they used to!”…I smiled as I envisaged her confirmation. Grandma had been a part of all three major comic book ages but sadly passed away at the beginning of the so-called ‘Modern Age’

Taking hold of my script of ‘The Highest Steeple’, which is a science-fiction-related story, but doesn’t bear any resemblance to a ‘superhero story’, I began to ponder. I flicked through the text some more…double-checking…observing…and still not happy. I then tore it up and threw it in the trash. The human condition still had quite a way to travel to begin to ignite this story…maybe on the twelfth day of another month…another time… (continues below)


4 years later: April 12th, 2012…

It’s just after 1am. The candle’s flame was far from dying. It still warmly lit the area of the coffee table on which it was placed within a glass holder. Next to it, the piercing brown eyes with the illuminating green specks looked back at me – longing for me to finish reading the story they were a part of. One could be forgiven for misinterpreting it for an almost sinister glare, but what I saw in those eyes was a shining soul – much more igniting than any burning candle.

                 My vision began to fill with a watery blur; those eyes, still looking at me, longing…but now glazed in my own pools of sight. The flame of the candle expanded within the thin film of my view – glowing. I felt emotionally drained but on the cusp of both sadness and delight. You see, today is the anniversary of my late Grandmother’s birthday and those aforementioned eyes that are piercing into me belong to a woman who is also a Grandmother. I had  just experienced reading one of several wonderfully poignant moments she had with her Granddaughter. Obviously, I can no longer cherish those type of moments with my Grandma, so a natural sadness forced its way into this enlightening moment. But, I took great joy from the fact that all Grandmothers hold the key to such special moments of poignancy laced with the unconditional bond of family unity. Gina Talbot knows all about these moments – she is the Granddaughter of Judy Talbot, whose surname was once Cooper. Gina is very much her ‘Grandmother’s Granddaughter’.  However, at present, she is unaware of the family secret that her father, Martin Talbot (Judy’s son) is keeping, which has thoroughly been documented by Judy in a very old diary from 1958.

               I reached over for a tissue and dabbed my face. Those eyes were now burning through the candlelight even more, and true to form, I know for a fact if I was to walk about this living-room – they would follow me, no matter what. Those eyes belong to the one I refer to as Judy Cooper Talbot; they are her youthful eyes…probably from that first diary year of 1958 when she was 20 years old. Judy’s story was documented in 2010 when she was 72 years old – a couple of years prior to my experience of this moment. One further ‘twist-in-the-tale’ is that Judy suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. You see, the story I’ve been totally engrossed in reading over the past couple of nights could actually be a real story – a true story…It isn’t – but it could be. I dabbed at my face once again; however, I am happy for the fact that author, Raymond Benson has allowed me to share in Martin Talbot’s special secret about his Mom…I am happy I have made her acquaintance through the pages that are pressed lovingly together behind those eyes. Incidentally, those eyes are on the hardcover of the book that relays the story, and first diary, of Judy Cooper Talbot. It’s quite an unusual title that the author has chosen to give her story, and very much holds a double-meaning; but I now understand why he chose to name it, simply – ‘The Black Stiletto’. I looked at the calendar on the wall – April 12, circled…that was now, the wee hours, today, in its infancy. I remember four years previously when I was struggling to craft an idea for a radio drama I had written – ‘The Highest Steeple’. I never really knew why I named it that except having culled it from a song which was the source of its inspiration. Furthermore, I had always felt that certain forces of human nature were not present in the text of the script; there was a longing for a human condition – an element of realism to be conveyed through a character and the world that they occupied. I tore it up, but I still have the original file saved on my laptop; I haven’t looked at it since. However, I have undertaken the writing of several other pieces of ‘art’ over the past few years that have thankfully paid off for me – unlike ‘The Highest Steeple’.  I never really discovered the moral  purpose behind that one. That is…until NOW… 

The very large framed colour print of the first self-titled Superman comic book from 1939 proudly decorated the wall behind me; the world’s first (and finest) superhero ever to be created (circa 1932), but very much a ‘man’ in every sense of the image. During that period and for many years thereafter it would appear that the ‘male of the species’ got all of the best titles, and jobs, and preferences the world over could ever present. It’s a common fact. Why, even ‘The Batman’ – one of the most human of vigilantes – was given all that intelligence and technology to use in order to seek justice. Things had to change, and Judith May Cooper engineered that change. The likes of these so-called ‘superheroes’ were all a considerable myth to Judy – they were all pumped-up stick figures, coloured-in and given a ‘party’ dress to wear…she didn’t quite get it. But, somehow, one day, she had no choice but to take heed of the comic books that she had access to…for there was a personal reflection of the heart that was reoccurring in her troubled life and she aimed to do something about it…


One could be forgiven for interpreting her image directly from the wardrobe of Gotham City, but Judy had to begin her transformation at a starting point which was both economical and enduring; her resourcefulness has to be applauded. Remember, she is a human being just like you and I, and she had no great wealth in order to advance her plans on a larger scale, so there was no hi-tech equipment or special flying armour for her. However, she was a product of an era which was engulfed in prosperity and conformity; the US of the 1950’s faced a number of challenges – some of them good, but in the regions of some classes, not highly-regarded as such: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Television, and ‘Playboy’ – to name but three. On a more life-threatening scale – the Korean War conflict began, Communism reached its greatest heights, and organized crime was a most profitable business. In summary, these were very exciting, but rather apprehensive times (Hmm…ring any bells?!). Furthermore, the subject of Feminism is very much highlighted by the characteristics of Judy Cooper in the fifties – it is all there in her strength, courage and determination, and this is even before she dons a mask and a deadly knife!

Raymond Benson has done a wonderful job in illustrating the period through Judy’s eyes and in turn we get to relish all of this through her diaries which are seen through the eyes of her son, Martin in a modern-day perspective. Furthermore, the story as a whole, works on many levels so please do not misconstrue this as just another all-out vigilante attack on the criminal side of mankind – for you would be very wrong to make this assumption! ‘The Black Stiletto: The First Diary’ is also an endearing tale of relationships both past and present, and a fine helping of family trials and tribulations generously sprinkled throughout the events over several years.

I reached over for the book once again, knowing that the next time I put it down I will have finished my first complete reading of it. I say “first” because I am very confident I shall be reading it again sometime soon no doubt.  A writer and a reader both invest a tremendous amount of creative energy into the characters they believe in – it’s tantamount to the building of a whole new world  from within the imagination of each participant. It’s a wonderful process of thought that occurs when a writer has hit that ‘sweet spot’ of a reader’s mind, be it in the form of the story as a whole, or the many fictional ‘somebodies’ that populate that whole. Sometimes, it may just be that one ‘somebody’ who engulfs the process of thought, feeling and imagination within a story. Raymond Benson has delivered in that process and Judy Cooper Talbot, has delivered herself as that ‘somebody’. It’s a curious thing to behold when one experiences both sides of Judy – as herself she is the free-thinking spirit of adolescence whom we first come to know in Odessa, Texas, but as ‘The Black Stiletto’ I personally experience a wonderful mix of charming ‘southern belle’ intermingled with a vicious vixen; Wait – ooooo…a cold breeze has just prickled my lower back! But, it is this “southern belle/vicious vixen” that evokes some of  the most humorous moments of the story and there are several of these moments that shine as rich as the delivery of language in any Shakespeare comedy: Beautiful.

I looked into those eyes on the cover of the book once again. I reflect upon the soulful beauty that so encapsulates the moment of contact. They look out from beyond the cover of a mask that blends like a shroud of darkness…they could be calling your name in a friendly manner. Alternatively, you may also feel the prickly sensation of fear that criminals may exclusively feel from beyond that darkness, that calling. Those eyes could be representing a beacon of hope in a nightmare that may or may not be at its end; I anticipate the final proclamation of this “First Diary” that lies behind the cover of those eyes. Ironically, I observed three significant months in the diary which hosted major occurrences in Judy’s life from 1958 – each one occurred on the 12th day of each of those three months. Eerie. Raymond and I would now like to offer you an insight into one of those significant events via the link belowthis event occurs on the 12th July, 1958…and so for your perusal is ‘The Black Stiletto’s Autograph’ as told by a witness of this event (Please click the cover image below to access the free download of the short story)…“For the Love of Judy” continues below after the story link:

The Black Stiletto's Autograph

“The Black Stiletto’s Autograph” – Free Download…

I looked over at my calendar again: the 12th underlined…today…my Grandma’s birthday anniversary once again. Another reason why Judy’s story resonated so profoundly with me was regarding her suffering of Alzheimer’s as a 72 year old (my Grandma had suffered with dementia (a symptom of Alzheimer’s)).  I think this also adds to my sentimental reading of the scenes between Judy and her Granddaughter, Gina – both wonderful characters that share this extraordinary chemistry. And, even just thinking about the quality time they share together immediately fills me with the most overwhelming delight.

It’s fascinating to read how music is used to such profound affect in their relationship too. We discover from Judy’s diary how much the music of the fifties was playing such an important part in her own youthful development; her favorite music was another aspect of the story that resonated with me jubilantly. It makes one consider how important the music was to her – inspiring her throughout all the ordeals she had to endure – soothing the pain, calming the fear like the comforting arms of a loved one’s affection. For Judy’s was a heart full of restlessness triggered by torment, and you can’t resist the rush of human emotions as you begin to run alongside her roulette wheel of life. ‘The Black Stiletto’ accelerates in a race to the finish line and it tempts you taste every morsel of suspense and danger of a world that got shattered in its tender years and was forever searching for that new horizon later on – pushing it farther away from that tortured past; but it was that past which held the key to the future…the key which jangled from around the neck of one of life’s demons.

Judy is a beautiful character; my investment as a reader has paid off tremendously. I am ready to open the cover once more; it’s time to read on. And, read on to the very end. However, this is most certainly not the “very end” of Judy’s story – it is just the beginning – ‘The Black Stiletto: Black and White’ is the second book of this 5-book serial! I celebrated by lighting another candle – it just seemed an appropriate thing to do. Then, a thought just occurred to me about ‘The Highest Steeple’ and how four years ago my creative thinking towards it was covered in a white sheet of blankness – similar to the white sheet of snow that covered some of those roses needing rain, bluebells in bloom, clover of perfume; I was like a poet that had run out of rhyme. However, below this article you will discover just exactly what ‘The Highest Steeple’ has become today and I sincerely hope you appreciate it.  I turned to my page in ‘Judy’s Diary’ and before I commenced reading, I looked at the burning candle then smiled at the calendar on the wall and remembered: Happy Birthday, Grandma!


With a Special Dedication to my Grandmother – the late MARY MARSHALL – formerly of Royton in Oldham, Greater Manchester. April 12, 1907 – January 15, 1986.


The title of the poetry here was originally conceived as a radio drama of sorts which never materialised. Therefore, the story of “The Black Stiletto” inspired me to develop the title as a tribute to the wonderful character created by Raymond Benson. Incidentally, the poem was inspired by elements of John Parr‘s “Restless Heart (Running Away with You)” from the soundtrack of the 1987 film The Running Man(based on the Richard Bachman (Stephen King) novel)Throughout the stanzas of the poem I’ve incorporated various aspects of the life and character of Judy Cooper Talbot (‘The Black Stiletto’) which includes music, family, past, future, diaries, violence, heartache and mystery references.  This is – The Highest SteepleThe song of the jukebox way below
With a tune for every son,
The whisper of darkness all around
With skyline above for one.

The rawness of anger tempting you
With dreams from yesteryear,
The barren pathway that lies ahead
With faces: vicious and dear.

The disguise of one that covers you
With the shine of black veneer,
The chase of screams – piercing high
With desolate souls now feared.

The past now present close behind
With crawling hands of dirt,
The stiletto unsheathed – so freely
With focus and sound alert.

The darkness of pupils piercing thru
With specks of flickering green,
The soulful journey: a darting shadow
With courage, alone to be seen.

The future of thoughts ponder anew
With journals of justice sown,
The city below the rooftops: free
With your mask of cover: unknown.

The Twelfth of Never sung in view
With hearts all broken and torn,
The years of your story unfolding
The calendar months now born.

The words are flowers all for you
With love and caring, unfold,
The affection from behind your mask
With a tear that reigns untold…


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Permission was granted to publish this not-for-profit blog article. The written content and style in this article are owned by Tony G. Marshall and Cosmic Dwellings. Copyright © 2012/2016 Tony G. Marshall/Cosmic Dwellings. All Rights Reserved. ‘The Highest Steeple’  written by Tony G. Marshall. Copyright © 2008/2012 Tony G Marshall. All Rights Reserved. ‘The Black Stiletto’ and all of its content, associated books, short story and links: Copyright © 2011 – 2016 Raymond Benson. All Rights Reserved.

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