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Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Wheels - Road Block (1965-66 ireland, superb mod beat. 2012 Big Beat release)

Rave ups don’t come any wilder than ‘Road Block’ by the Wheels, who keep the party going on this CD of their complete output, 1965-1966. Tough, shouting R&B vocals and crunching riffs from Belfast’s other great combo.

‘Road Block’ and ‘Bad Little Woman’ are garage-beat classics of which anyone raised on American “Pebbles” albums will be very familiar. The Wheels, however, were not American; they were from Northern Ireland. Yet their band original ‘Bad Little Woman’ was picked up by Chicago garage deities the Shadows Of Knight, and in contrast they covered Paul Revere & the Raiders’ ‘Kicks’. Don’t even get me started on the feral intensity of their beat-punk opus ‘Road Block’.

Big Beat’s new Wheels collection comprises the A and B-sides of their three singles, released across 1965 and 1966, plus the remaining sessions they cut at Regent Sound; this is their album, its great period design making up for the fact that these talented young men didn’t get to release one first time round.

Like many who have bought Big Beat releases over the past 20 years, I came to the label knowing I would find great garage, beat and psych. Now the Wheels are in the company of the Beau Brummels, the Chocolate Watchband, the Zombies and Thor’s Hammer. And by heck, they deserve it. Anyone who has bought releases by those artists will adore the Wheels. Steaming out of Belfast’s Maritime Hotel (an R&B hotbed on par with the Crawdaddy in Richmond and Newcastle’s Club A’GoGo), where they graced the stage with friend Van Morrison and his similarly clued-up Them, before moving on to an obsessive following in the glamorous environs of Blackpool.

The Wheels lived their lives to the full, playing wild shows, popping pills and adapting R&B to their own means. Under the tutelage of industry bigwig Phil Solomon and producer Tommy Scott, they issued singles on Parlophone and turned heads with their long hair (or, in Brian Rossi’s case, bald head). It looked as if the charts would be theirs. Unfortunately, their sound and songbook may have shared too much with Them’s; Van and his gang stole the Wheels’ thunder and fashions changed fast.

In hindsight, the magnificent punk/R&B attack of ‘Road Block’ rivals anything the toughest US garage bands recorded, ‘Bad Little Woman’ was a really decent song, their choice of covers was inspired and there’s no denying their musicality or Rod Demick’s wild-but-soulful vocals. Okay, the Wheels were a beat band versed in R&B and they didn’t make an album like “Revolver” or sell many records, but by Jove they were exciting. The 12 tracks here are testament to that.
by Jon “Mojo” Mills 

1. Road Block (H. Armstrong, V. Catting, R. Demick, B. Rosbotham, W. Tinsley) - 3:31
2. I'm Leaving (John Lee Hooker) - 2:44
3. Bad Little Woman (H. Armstrong, V. Catling, R. Demick, B. Rosbotham, W. Tinsley) - 2:49
4. Send Me Your Pillow (John Lee Hooker) - 2:48
5. Don't You Know (Tommy Scott) - 2:51
6. Call My Name (Tommy Scott) - 2:12
7. Kicks (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) 2:32
8. Tell Me (I'm Gonna Love Again) (Graham Bond) 2:12
9. You Got Me Dizzy (Jimmy Reed, Ewart Abner) 2:24
10.Gloria (Van Morrison) - 2:43
11.Mona (Ellis McDaniel) - 2:43
12. Bad Little Woman (Us Version) (H. Armstrong, V. Catling, R. Demick, B. Rosbotham, W. Tinsley) - 2:34

The Wheels
*Herbie Armstrong - Guitar
*Rod Demick - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Brian Rossi - Keyboards, Vocals
*Victor Catling - Drums
*Tito Tinsley - Bass

Free Text


sorogan said...

Many thanx Marios !!

psychonaut said...

Wow, this one looks great! Thanks!

barrym said...

Thanks Marios for this and all the other UK beat group comps.

highly appreciated.

cudawaver said...

Thanks For this killer Big Beat comp, though the shortest I've known,
it makes up for it's brief clock time with pure r&b freakbeat intensity. "Road Block" has always been a favorite of mine. Kudos to our gracious host!

Anonymous said...

Thank you !


unkerz said...

Big Thank You for sharing this little gem.

Anonymous said...

Shit links!

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for sharing this, it's very kind of you.
Anonymous user from 29/8 is stupid and ignorant. too bad that a-holes like him pollute the blogsphere.

Remy said...

Thanks Marios!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much.