Digital Only Releases 2014 | Part One

Did you know that as well as releasing albums on both CD and digital, Fantastic Voyage also has a catalogue of digital-only albums?

In fact, our current digital best-seller is the digital-only Chad & Jeremy compilation A Summer Song, a 22-track selection of their early Ember/World Artists recordings, featuring UK hit Yesterday’s Gone and five further US hits, including the title track.

We have recently added the following digital-only releases to our catalogue, sourced in the most part from the vaults of the ’60s/’70s British indie label Ember, taking in beat, pop, mod, jazz and soundtracks.

60s Mod Sounds is a new digital-only selection which draws on the various Ember beat and soul compilations we put out on CD several years ago, plus further tracks new to Fantastic Voyage. Highlights include both sides of the rare-as-hen’s-teeth Couriers single from May 1965, Bobby Johnson & The Atoms take on Tramp, The Fadin’ Clours cover of (Just Like) Romeo And Juliet, three tracks by beat groups associated with Belfast’s Maritime Club (famous for its association with Van Morrison’s Them) and soulful sides courtesy of The Brothers Grimm, Maynell Wilson and Hoagy Benson.

Beat group The Washington DC’s have never had an album entirely devoted to them until now, although Ember came close when they packaged eight of their recordings with both sides of the label’s one Dave Clark Five single, in the wake of the DC5’s subsequent success on another label. Dave Clark Five And The Washington DC’s (FA 2003, 1965) included seven previously unreleased tracks by The Washington DCs, plus Where Did You Go?, the flipside of their sole Ember single, from March 1964. Our compilation takes its title from that missing A-side, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, and also includes an alternative version of Have You Seen My Baby? and a recording of Return to Me, both of which first surfaced on the Fantastic Voyage compilation Done Me Wrong (FVCD023) in 2009.

Did you know that Twiggy released two singles on Ember? As well as a phenomenally successful international career as a model – she was The Face Of 1966 – Twiggy also starred in Ken Russell’s 1971 musical comedy film The Boyfriend. Back in 1967, she cut four sides for Ember under the supervision of musical director John Hawksworth and producer Tommy Scott. We have repackaged these as the When I Think Of You EP, and our image is based on an original Ember picture sleeve.

Remember Linda Thorson? She succeeded Diana Rigg as female foil to Patrick Macnee in the popular ’60s TV series The Avengers, playing Tara King. In 1968 and 1970 she recorded for Ember, which yielded two singles including the Kenny Lynch-produced Here I Am, which gives our digital EP its title. Two of the four 1968 session tracks originally languished on a demo single, while a third 1970 cut went unreleased until 2005.

Not to be confused with the Missouri-born blues guitarist, singer and songwriter of the same name (or indeed the 1960 film starring James Garner and Natalie Wood), the Cash McCall we’re concerned with here was born Selwyn Cox, who was residing in Corby, Northants, when he signed to Ember in July 1962. The country singer and guitarist recorded two albums and a brace of singles for the label, who also licensed recordings (some sung in Italian) to Regal in Italy. We have rounded up a baker’s dozen of his (English) recordings on Across The Wide Missouri.

Essex-born singer Marcus Tro was signed to Ember for a single, produced and arranged by Mark Wirtz, who succeeded John Barry as Ember in-house producer. Released in December 1964, the single coupled early Jagger & Richards composition Tell Me with a Wirtz original. No further singles emerged, but a twelve-track album, Introducing Marcus Tro (EMB 3365) surfaced in 1966, featuring a second Wirtz composition, plus songs by Goffin & King, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, and Johnny Tillotson, as well as two originals credited under his real name, Graham Reynolds.

Teenbeat (EMB 3352) was a July 1963 compilation of recordings by singer Grant Tracy and instrumental combo The Sunsets, who backed Tracy on two of his five Ember singles as well as recording in their own right. All bar four of the fourteen tracks on Teenbeat had been released previously as singles in 1961 or 1962. This line-up of The Sunsets included Peter Blumson (better known as Pete Dello), later a founding member of Honeybus. For this digital release we have added four bonus tracks by Grant Tracy, including both sides of a Mark Wirtz-produced single from 1965.

From 1966, the Ray Singer album Ray Sings For Those In Love (EMB 3364) packaged five singles sides with 9 new tracks (including the Mark Wirtz-penned Ah Oop) by the Hove-based vocalist, who went on to have an interesting career, including a stint with pop-psych group Nirvana. Bonus tracks are a B-side and EP tracks, all from 1964, both sides of a 1966 single (one co-written with future Nirvana main man Alex Spiropoulos), plus the gorgeous A Dreamer Of The Past, originally featured on a French EP.

Come the ’70s and Ember was trying to muscle in on both the all-woman group and glam rock markets with Mother Trucker. If the press release is to be believed, the women were variously involved in the road haulage industry before getting together and being spotted at a London club gig and signed to Ember in 1973. At this time, industry veteran John Madara was heading up the US wing of Ember, and sessions for Mother Trucker (NR 5082, 1975) took place in Hollywood. Highlights include Tonight and Propeller Love, coupled for single release ahead of the album’s appearance, and covers of Gamble & Huff’s Explosion In My Soul (also a single) and Hayes & Porter’s Wrap It Up.

Julie Rogers’ professional career as a vocalist began in 1963 with the Teddy Foster Orchestra.  Later that decade she signed to Ember, releasing the album Once More With Feeling (NR 5050) in 1970. Produced by Foster, whom she had married in 1968, the tracks were variously arranged and conducted by either Johnny Arthey or Charles Blackwell, and included compositions by Gary Osborne, Sonny Bono, Clarence Paul and Jimmy Webb. Nine of its fourteen tracks also emerged as Ember singles between 1969 and 1971.

Tommy Whittle’s album was recorded in May 1959, at which time Jeffrey Kruger had interests in publishing, films and the Flamingo jazz club, but had yet to set up the Ember label. The album first appeared as New Horizons on Tempo (TAP 27). Tenor saxophonist Tommy Whittle was joined in his quintet by Harry Klein (baritone), Eddie Thompson (piano), Ken Sprang (bass) and Jackie Dougan (drums). A year later the album was brought in house and reissued as Easy Listening With Tommy Whittle And His Friends (Ember EMB 3305). Mastered from tape, two alternative takes first saw light of day on our expanded reissue of the Various Artists set Jazz At The Flamingo: Tenth Anniversary Tribute (Fantastic Voyage FVCD125) and reappear here as bonus tracks.

Our Eddie Thompson Trio album also first surfaced on Tempo (TAP 24), having been recorded in May 1958. Eddie Thompson is joined by Arthur Watts (bass) and Andy White (drums). Again it reappeared on Ember in 1960 (EMB 3303) with its name changed from His Master’s Jazz to Piano Moods. Mastered from original tapes, our expanded digital reissue adds two further May 1958 recordings, which were first released on the aforementioned Jazz At The Flamingo set in 1961 (EMB 3321).

In 1960 the Ember label released the Teenage Dance Party project, credited to the Little John Anthony Band (EMB 3302). Presumably a rather late-in-the-day attempt to exploit the rock & roll market, the album was composed – and featured a band led – by Tony Crombie (born Anthony John Crombie, hence the alias). Primarily a jazz drummer and composer, Crombie had led a rock & roll band, The Rockets, from 1956, before reverting to jazz in 1958. Teenage Dance Party is essentially an album of jazz tunes, albeit with a rhythmic and titular nod to rock & roll. There has been much conjecture about the other musicians featured, but there now seems to be consensus that the highly regarded tenor saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Tubby Hayes was in their number.

Recorded 16 February 1958, at the Dominion Theatre, London, The Jazz CouriersIn Concert first appeared on the Tempo label (TAP 22). With a line-up of Ronnie Scott (tenor saxophone), Tubby Hayes (tenor saxophone, vibes), Terry Shannon (piano), Phil Bates (bass) and Bill Eyden (drums), The Jazz Couriers are in cracking form on a programme that includes Hayes’ original The Serpent, Scott’s Some Of My Best Friends Are Blues, and standards including Guys And Dolls. These downloads use the same masters prepared for our Tubby Hayes compilation Jazz Genius: The Flamingo Era (FVTD050), which was the first CD reissue to restore all original spoken introductions, working from original tapes.

Ronnie Scott (tenor saxophone), Tubby Hayes (tenor saxophone, vibes), Terry Shannon (piano), Phil Bates (bass) and Bill Eyden (drums), augmented by Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet) on two tracks, recorded a studio set in August 1957 and it first emerged on Tempo (TAP 15). Our download of Tubby Hayes And The Jazz Couriers Featuring Ronnie Scott uses the same masters (derived from tape sources) as used on Jazz Genius: The Flamingo Era (FVTD050). Tubby Hayes is to the fore on this selection, which includes three Hayes originals, and his vibraphone-playing skills are showcased on Tadd Dameron’s On A Misty Night.

The British Jazz Trio recorded an eponymous four-track EP for Ember, which was released in September 1962 (EMB EP 4517). Comprising Kenny Harris (drums), Derek Smith (piano) and John Drew (bass), the trio laid down versions of White Cliffs Of Dover, two traditional tunes including Ilkley Moor Baht ‘At, and Noel Coward’s London Pride. How much more eclectic can you get? These are now available digitally in their original EP artwork.