Gypsy Creams

A box of old magazines, a scanner, and some server space.
Gypsy Creams is lovingly scanned and written by Tanya Jones.

British Blues Boom

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Well, what a useful guide to British blues bands this is, along with some recommended clubs. It’s not immune to the usual factionalism that comes along with much music fandom, however!

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It’s Cold at the Top…

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

This is a telling article. The Marbles were essentially a one-hit wonder, and as this interview suggests, didn’t quite enjoy the success they were hoping for. I suspect the only reason they’re in this magazine is because they released their one hit in November 1968. They split the following year, but didn’t release an album until 1970. Graham Bonnet found success as a solo artist and Trevor Gordon became a music teacher, sadly passing away in 2013.

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The Iveys

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Well, I have to remark that this is an ironically benign promotion for The Iveys (later, more famously, Badfinger), considering the sad fate of two of the band members. The band had a difficult history, but they’re probably best known for their hit “Come and Get It” from 1970, written and produced by Paul McCartney. Joey Molland, who joined the band in 1969 when they changed their name, still tours under ‘The Original Badfinger‘ today.

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Scene

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Goodness me, what a lot of gossip. It’s always a thrill to see now-legendary figures talked about in these terms. Amongst other things, this provides a fascinating background to the launch of Barry Ryan’s solo career, a bizarre claim from Peter Frampton about The Herd’s road manager, a report of BBC royalty Robin Scott moving onto Television from Radio 1, a fascinating glimpse of Episode Six, and a review of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society which suggests that the writer considers them has-beens in pop terms, even if they respect the album.

There’s also an hilarious quote from Dave Clark about what some may have considered an attempt to piggy-back on England’s 1966 World Cup success for the single ‘Live In The Sky’. Sorry Dave, it only reached number 39.

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Hollywood Calling

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Now, of course, gossip from the US is available on demand to Brits, so it’s odd to think that it wasn’t that long ago that US showbiz news was seen as something warranting programmes and features of its own, such as this clearly regular column in Disc. I grew up watching Entertainment USA, and still recall my excitement at discovering US pop magazines in my local newsagent (and the disappointment when they weren’t a patch on Smash Hits), so I do have some idea of the anticipation with which Disc readers must have awaited each edition.

What of Judith Sims, though? I was glad to see that she had a respectable career in journalism, including being the Los Angeles bureau chief for Rolling Stone. Her work here certainly demonstrates a keen sense of humour, which comes in useful when observing the circus around Yellow Submarine. It’s a terrible shame that cancer claimed her life whilst she was still fighting for copyright maintenance in what was then the very new medium of the World Wide Web. I wonder what she would have made of Gypsy Creams?

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George – Finding the Truth

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Well, I don’t think anyone could call this ‘journalism’, as it’s written by the Beatles’ press officer of the time, but it’s certainly very interesting, pointing to George Harrison thinking beyond The Beatles and clearly trying to build an image of himself as a deep thinker and musician in his own right. It is, however, an article that goes way beyond anything that we might expect from a press officer nowadays, but then again, there have been few press officers as close to a group as Derek Taylor was to The Beatles. His close friendship with George is obvious, to the point where he lapses into the pseudo-religious prose that George became famous (and ridiculed) for at the end of the article.

Most Beatles fans will of course know that 1968 was the beginning of the end, and there does seem to be confirmation of that from George in this article, with the “a bit of my life, just a little bit” quote. Ringo had already temporarily quit the group, and there does appear to be an acceptance here that the band are all looking in opposite directions at this point. However, this has all been covered many times by better writers than me. I’m just here to bring this rather charming historical curiosity to you, and I’m only sad that I haven’t got the other parts.

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Win a Beatle!

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Disc and Music Echo is a curious mix of music nerd and teenybop sentiment, and I, for one, rather like it. This is certainly a teenybop item, and bears close similarity to the competitions in the magazines that the readers’ mothers would have read.

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Black is Beautiful

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

In more ‘the past is a different country’ news, this round up of New York entertainment gossip features an actress saying something that, thankfully, wouldn’t be tolerated today. I do wonder whether Grace Slick’s black friends were making fun of her. Let’s hope so, especially as her protestations that ‘black is just a colour’ and that she could appear in green are clearly absurd. I haven’t seen any episodes of Smothers Brothers, but I’d guess that appearing in green would render the joke meaningless. Also, here’s an excellent article explaining just why her claim that black skin shows up better on TV is absolute rubbish.

Blackface, unfortunately, is still with us to a certain degree, but tends to be confined to white people trying to make a point about racism (rarely successfully), or very stupid white people who don’t realise the weight of history.

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Jonathan King, there

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Jonathan King is a controversial figure these days, but I’d be neglecting my duties if I didn’t highlight how influential he was in the music and entertainment industries. Like many of my generation, I watched Jonathan’s TV work, but I have little experience of his music writing in the 1960s. I’m sure he was as outspoken then as he’s always been, but it’s genuinely refreshing to see the music scene in the late 1960s through Jonathan’s jaded contemporary eyes, rather than through the rose-tinted nostalgic spectacles usually offered.

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Penny Valentine

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Here’s the iconic, if nowadays somewhat forgotten, Penny Valentine, who was probably the first woman to write about pop music with the same passion as the teenagers consuming it in the 1960s. She joined Disc in 1964, and created enough of a following to appear on Juke Box Jury whilst still reviewing singles for the magazine. I’m not going to replicate the work of her obituary writers, but it’s clear that she deserves a place in the collective memory, and that this seems to have been denied her, sadly.

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