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BRITXOTICA! GOES WILD!!!

Catalogue number JBH072LP

So my Britxotica! chums, welcome at last to our fifth but not final fling with the world of rare and exotic British recordings. For this meeting of madness we have pooled all sorts of crazy cuts that will grab you by the seat of your pants and have you dancing in ways you may not danced before. As usual, Martin Green (the Britxotica bad boy) has outdone himself again, and just so you know, we’re currently working on Britxotica Number Six – a visit to wild British cinema. And I want front row seats for that baby.

Jonny Trunk 2018

The Eve Club in the basement of 189 Regents St was the final destination for my club 'Smashing'. We threw a party there every Friday for 2 years creating a night of wild abandon for the likes of Pulp, Blur and Oasis as they shot to fame. There must've been an unbridled energy oozing from the walls or at least something in the water, as the club had previously hosted hedonistic nights for Frank Sinatra and Errol Flynn before becoming the centre of Britain's most infamous scandal......

Although 30 years had passed since John Profumo met Christine Keeler there, The Eve Club remained untouched when we opened in '94. The place was still covered with twinkling lights hidden amongst the plastic leaves and branches which sprang from the tree lined room. A small bamboo bar stood in the corner besides an illuminated dancefloor, which would rise 2 ft enabling the audience to see an act. At Smashing it could be Courtney Love, Leigh Bowery or Pete Burns, whereas during the 60's it was suited jazz combos accompanying scantily clad exotic dancers.

This album aims to evoke the unseen, uninhibited atmosphere of the Profumo era Eve Club, where conservative Casanova's shimmied with glamorous hostesses and risked losing their jobs, wives and reputations, while the bongo drums pounded faster and faster.

Two vibrant versions of The High Life open and close this percussion fuelled compilation. The first is a frenetic tribal dancer by Marion Ryan - the sassy singer from Middlesbrough. The last a strident stomper by Toni Sharpe with Basil and Ivor Kirchin - the mambo masters from Hull.

The dynamic Vamos-A-Bailar was recorded live at The Milroy Club in Mayfair and released on an EP with a photograph of Chico Arnez and Robert Mitcham playing percussion on the cover. Many of Chico's albums capture the authenticity of his Latin American roots and feature him with a pair of maracas, a horn or a girl in a sombrero. But this is an exotic illusion. Chico Arnez was really an Irish trumpeter from Streatham called Jackie Davies.

The Latin frenzy reaches fever pitch on Ted Heath's crazed version of Jonny One Note. It's morse-code style beginning may sound familiar to listeners of a certain age, that's because it was used over the opening ticker-tape titles of John Craven's Newsround.

Hungarian born Eve Boswell released a few records on Parlophone in Britain. She transforms Wimoweh into a strident Cha-cha-cha, then returns to the jungle with Voom-va-Voom. This insanely brilliant recording is packed with howls and screams from over enthusiastic session men and tucked away on a B-side, my favourite place to find a hidden gem. Another Parlophone B-side treasure is by West Indian born singer Neville Taylor. During the 50's Taylor was one of the few black Rock-n-Rollers working and releasing records in Britain and here sings a great version of dance-floor filler House of Bamboo.

The exuberant Crazy Latin is composed and arranged by Afro-Cuban visionary Kenny Graham and tightly performed by pianist Don Carlos, percussionist Phil Seamen and saxophonist Joe Harriott. Both this and Don's Mambo were produced by Joe Meek, the mastermind responsible for many Britxotica recordings including the explosive version of Taboo by his protege Charles Blackwell.

Guyanese born singer and percussionist Frank Holder also worked with Meek and his driving version of Jump in the Line was arranged by Kenny Graham. Holder moved to Britain in the 40's and was soon performing with the British Jazz greats Johnny Dankworth, Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes. Although known for calypso, he also sang jazz, blues and in addition here a riotous rock-n-roll swinger with surprisingly fierce orchestration by the usually reserved Frank Chacksfield.

The Eve Club finally closed its doors in the late 90's, and although its Victorian frontage was preserved, the entire block was gutted and everything inside destroyed. The secrets of that hidden Regent St basement are almost forgotten and even though the building's traditional exterior remains intact, very few passers-by are aware of the outlandish antics which once occurred beneath its stiff upper bricks. A perfect example of a London nobody knew.

Martin Green

Crazy Camden 2018

 

TRACKLISTING

Side One
1 The High Life – Marion Ryan
2 Vamos – a – Baila - Chico Arnez
3 Jonny One Note – Ted Heath
4Wimoweh – Eve Boswell
5 House of Bamboo – Neville Taylor
6 Baia – Tony Scott
7 Jump in the Line – Frank Holder
8 Mambo For Latin Lovers – Ido Martin

Side Two
9 Fanagalo – Frank Chacksfield ft Frank Holder
10 Taboo – Charles Blackwell
11 Voom-va- voom – Eve Boswell
12 Crazy Latin – Don Carlos
13 Vaba -Ba - Boom – Edmundo Ros
14 Boliviana – Victor Silvester
15 Don's Mambo – Don Carlos
16 The High Life – Basil and Ivor Kirchin ft Toni Sharpe