What Goes On: Stevie Winwood, The Beatles

Crawdaddy Features The Beatles
Share Tweet Submit Pin

This article originally appeared in Issue 9 of Crawdaddy in 1967

Stevie Winwood (guitar, organ, piano, vocals) and his brother Muff (bass) have quit the SPENCER DAVIS GROUP. Muff is leaving pop music for the business world; Stevie (a brilliant keyboard man and Britain’s best blues singer) is forming his own group, the Traffic, with Stevie on organ and vocals, James Capaldi on drums, David Mason (guitar), and Christopher Wood on sax and woodwinds. The TRAFFIC don’t plan to perform for another six months, during which time they will rehearse and Stevie will work on his songwriting (he has been contracted to write the title themes for two movies, including Clive Donner’s Round the Mulberry Bush). The group will be recorded by Chris Blackwell, who produced all Spencer Davis records until now, and will be on United Artists in the U.S. Spencer, meanwhile, is hiring three new members for the SDG: he wants a guitarist, an organist, and a bass player, two of whom should also be vocalists. Spencer himself will take the vocal on his group’s next single.

Look for the next BEATLES album—title is Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—in late May. Tracks include: “A Day in the Life,” featuring John Lennon backed by a forty-one-piece orchestra; “Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning,” John and Paul singing with Sounds, Incorporated behind them; “When I’m Sixty-Four,” an old-style novelty number featuring Paul; “Meter Rita,” another Lennon solo, which is on twelve tracks including “a comb and paper played backwards”; “She’s Leaving Home,” a string thing arranged by Mike Leander; “Sergeant Pepper’s Blues,” a solo for Ringo; and a George Harrison composition featuring George on vocal and Indian instrumentation. The album will be the first on which the Beatles break the three-minute barrier with some lengthy items. The jacket is being designed by two Dutch impressionists, Simon & Marijka, who painted all the Cream’s instruments and who are painting John Lennon’s electric organ. There still is a third Beatles movie, but don’t expect to see it in 1967.

The first MONTEREY FESTIVAL of POP is being planned by Bennie Shapiro, Alan Pariser, and Derek Taylor for June 16, 17, and 18. No details yet…:::VAN MORRISON, lead singer of the late great THEM (a group that’s been breaking up ever since they first got together) is now recording for Bert Berns’s Bang Records (Berns wrote “Here Comes the Night”). ::: World Pacific Records has re-signed RAVI SHANKAR; the new contract calls for a minimum of two albums a year for the next five years (Capitol has just proudly issued two Indian music albums, each already available on both Angel and World Pacific! A discography is in order…). Shankar will appear at the Music Center in L.A. May 21st, Expo ‘67 July 4th, and Lincoln Center July 11th. And he and two assistants are opening a school of Indian music in Los Angeles in mid-May.

The ROLLING STONES received a gold record for a million sales of “Ruby Tuesday,” their first for a single since “Satisfaction” (all their LPs since Out of Our Heads have been million-sellers). (When the record originally came out, WABC in New York decided not to play “Let’s Spend the Night Together” because of its lyrics, and then rejected “Ruby Tuesday” because they felt it wasn’t strong enough to be a hit!) Taking them Stone by Stone, Bill Wyman has just produced a single and an LP for MGM by a group called Moon’s Train; Charlie Watts is awaiting American publication of his two books of words and pictures about jazz; Brian Jones has written and produced the background score for a movie called A Degree of Murder, which stars Brian’s girlfriend and is Germany’s entry in the Cannes Film Festival; and Mick and Keith appear in court on charges of drug possession, Wednesday May 10 (“I said, ‘Hey, you, get off of my cloud…’”)

Jim Rooney, Bruce Jackson, Ethel Rain Dunson, and Frank Warner have been named members of the board of the NEWPORT FOLK FOUNDATION, joining Julius Lester, Judy Collins, and Oscar Brand. The mere fact that Alan Lomax and Peter Yarrow will have nothing to do with the Festival this year is good reason for high hopes; and the four above-named are such excellent people that you should make your reservations (Newport is in Rhode Island, and the Festival is July 10-16) right now.

A group said to the Company, “Sir, we exist!” “That fact,” replied the Company, “does not instill in Me a sense of obligation.” The Stephen Crane paraphrase is in behalf of the GENTLE SOUL, whom you never heard of, but who are nevertheless on Columbia Records. That’s their picture on the preceding page, and they have a single out that’s almost as pretty; Columbia should Do Something.

DONOVAN’s next single is “Tinker and the Crab”; “Epistle to Dippy” will not be released in England because someone in the record company is afraid that someone in the national press will find “controversial drug-taking implications” somewhere in the lyrics (“getting a little bit better, no doubt”) …Don now plans to visit America, and perhaps do a few concerts, the first week in May. ::: Mike Bloomfield has left the BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND; future plans are uncertain, but he’d like to form a new band, with Barry Goldberg on organ. Butterfield is continuing as a five-man group, with Elvin on lead guitar; if they add a member, he’ll probably be a reed man. ::: JEFF BECK, formerly of the Yardbirds, has a single out on Epic: “Hi-Ho Silver Lining”/”Beck’s Bolero,” produced by Mickie Most.

Album prices are going up; no one knows just when or how, but the industry has that gleam in its eye. At present, list price for pop LPs is $3.79 mono, $4.79 stereo, which means you’re probably paying something like $2.95 and $3.95; and what is most likely is that sometime over the course of the next eight months you’ll find that prices at your local disc pusher’s have moved up to something like $3.50 and $4.50. Don’t shout too much. For one thing, record prices haven’t gone up for many many years—everything else has, including the milk and bread that record company people live on the same as you. Anyway, that increase isn’t going to any one person—it gets divided between the store, the onestop distributor, the label distributor, the record company, and hell, maybe even the artist involved. Everybody needs bread, right? And albums are getting better, so that’s something. It’s been suggested, by the way, that instead of just raising prices, record people could increase income by a supply & demand sort of thing where you’d charge for each record depending on how badly people wanted it and how much it cost to make, etc., like a Broadway show. This would probably reduce record stores to total chaos, but at least it would be fun. Yet another suggestion, one I like better, is that the mono record be eliminated, thereby saving record people the trouble of making two different types of records, and forcing everyone to pay the higher price ($3.95 or whatever) but also forcing everyone to get better-sounding records. Maybe we could also force everyone to get better amplifiers and stereo headphones. Not very democratic, maybe, but it’s all for the greater good. Anyway, kiddies, prepare for a price increase.

The BEACH BOYS’ suit against Capitol Records, which involves “replacement records deductions,” is based on the theory that if you have a good enough lawyer you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do; if this turns out to be true, a whole lot of people will stop doing what they don’t want to do, which might even be nice. Tracks from the next Beach Boys LP include “The Elements” (a composition in four movements), “Heroes & Villains” (their next single, weighing in at over four minutes), “The Child Is the Father of the Man,” and something about going out in the yard to eat worms. Lyrics are mostly by Van Dyke Parks, and it is possible that the LP will be finished one of these days. Smile.

DENNY LAlNE’s first solo record, “Say You Won’t Mind,” is now available on Deram. There still is a group called the Moody Blues, but only two of the members are from the original group. ::: Yes, Steve and Zal really Did lt. ::: “I played piano with Bobby Vee…would’ve been a millionaire if I’d stayed with him.” —Bob Dylan to Izzy Young, Oct. 23, 1961. ::: Something is rotten in England. For the first time, the Beatles failed to make #1, with “Penny Lane”; and the British Top 20 reads like an anthology of the worst of easy listening. A recent Top 5: “Release Me” (a wretched c&w thing that will probably be England’s second native million-seller—”Yellow Submarine,” the biggest British seller of 1966, sold 455,000!), “This is My Song” (humorous version of the ludicrous Pet Clark hit by TV personality Harry Secombe), “Puppet on a String” by Sandie Shaw, “Edelweiss” (from “The Sound of Music”), and “l Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith. Rock has practically been swept off the singles charts. It’ll happen here, too; already, Top 40 radio is almost unlistenable. As the radio news sheet Tempo points out, U.S. Top 40 will have to start programming more album cuts and exciting music, or it will lose us young ‘uns altogether. And our money. Already singles sales are down so drastically in the U.S. that no one seems to care if they have a hit any more. A Top 10 record may sell less than a hundred thousand a week, which is probably fewer than the number of record stores in this country. That’s not too good…

This time, the new TROGGS song—”Give It to Me”—has been censored so fast you never got a chance to hear it; Mercury has bashfully withdrawn the record. Meanwhile, “I Think We’re Alone Now” (“…and then you put your arms around me as we tumble to the ground and then you say: I think we’re alone now…”) is a Top 10 record, and the McLendon radio stations (half a dozen, mostly southern) have announced that after May 15 they won’t play any record sent them unless it’s accompanied by printed lyrics for both sides, which means they’ll probably have to get their DJs to hum a few tunes (unless they want to program twenty-four-hour commercials). Anyway, I think “Something Stupid” is a dirty record.

Bobby Elliott of the HOLLIES, one of rock’s most respected drummers, remains very ill; rather than use a substitute, the group has canceled all performances for the next month. The group will be on Epic in the U.S. in the future; they have five albums on Imperial—you’ll have to look rather hard to find them, but it’s worth the trouble. ::: Don’t be deceived: BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY may not sound like much on their rare Mainstream recordings, but they’re one of the toughest, freshest groups going. Janis Joplin’s piercing voice, Jim Gurley’s s t r a n g e lead guitar style, David Getz’s mad drumming (he sounds like a man possessed), and the entire group’s ability to work in musical patterns far outside the ken of ordinary persons, create music that is as valuable and exciting as anything coming out of the Bay Area.

Warner Brothers has signed JlMl HENDRIX and his Experience, paying Jimi more than $50,000 for his signature, the highest fee that company has ever paid for a new artist. American Jimi just had a large hit in Britain with “Hey, Joe”; his new single, “Purple Haze,” is now out on Reprise here. Jimi (see photo on facing page) is nineteen, and a fantastic singer and guitarist; with his sidemen (drummer Mitch Mitchell and bass player Noel Redding), he is supposed to be one of the most powerful performers in Britain.

KElTH’s real name: James Barry Keefer. ::: STEVE PAUL is producing a series of two-hour color TV specials on pop music and people and the interaction between them; the show will be seen on Channel 5 in New York and certain other Metromedia stations across the country. Steve’s club, the Scene, has recently been the late-night home of some very nice New York jam sessions, particularly while the Cream, the Chicago Loop, and Wilson Pickett’s band were working nearby in MURRAY the K’s Easter show at the RKO 58th. The only good thing that can be said about the show itself is that it did present the WHO to an American audience for the first time, and even in a three-minute presentation the Who can be fantastic. But Murray’s show, apart from that, was more dismal and disappointing than can possibly be imagined: the wrong audience, the wrong performers, the wrong programming (you can’t present the Cream or the Blues Project in a four-minute time slot), the wrong theater, and, I’m afraid, the wrong master of ceremonies.

Break On Through Dept: (from an editorial in Cash Box) “The music business has reached a point, we feel, where one can no longer consider offbeat sources of musical development as fads. A record, musical or otherwise, can be the product of social developments that appear to be poles apart from the record industry.” ::: The PAUPERS (to your left, there) recently appeared at Howard Solomon’s Cafe Au Go Go, and managed to shake up New York City more than any other group in months. Not because they were the best New York’s seen, exactly, but because they have a fantastic impact on an audience, a real ability to get tired people out of their seats and screaming. The group comes from Toronto, and bases itself around fantastic breaks in which three of the four members will be playing drums at once, while the fourth goes through strange and lovely guitar changes. They’re a nice experience; they still have a lot of musical developing to do and they need some more diverse material, but their basic understanding of kinetics, their ability to work with and against each other to capture an audience and make it move, guarantees that this group will build a huge following wherever it plays. More important is the fact that the group is very close to musical maturity, that their cleverness now may be just on the verge of becoming vital musical innovation. The Paupers will be at the Go Go April 28-80, and they have a single, “Simple Deed,” just released on Verve-Folkways.

Starting June 20, BILL GRAHAM presents in San Francisco a six-day rock week—the FILLMORE AUDITORIUM will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, six nights a week with the extra kiddies-free afternoon show on Sunday. If that sounds good, listen to the lineup: June 20-25, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; June 27-July 2, CHUCK BERRY; July 4-9, BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND; July 11-16, SAM & DAVE; July 18-23, BLUES PROJECT; July 25-30, MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS; August 1-6, OTIS REDDING. Plus, on August 20 and 21 at the Fillmore Auditorium: COUNT BASIE! Music is love. :::

The BYRDS are composing the score and title song to a Filmways movie, Don’t Make Waves; they’ve also been signed to perform in a movie of their own for a major studio. ::: The NATIONAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION has formed an advisory board to help students who are involved in booking acts for colleges. The board, headed by Arthur Weiner, intends to serve as a clearinghouse for information between students and managers of live talent. Hopefully, this will solve some of the problems faced by campus bookers: lack of knowledge of the field and the unavailability of information (“Where do I go to book the act I want?”), plus the dangers of unknowing campus bookers being burned—and left without recourse—by Unscrupulous Persons.

There seem to be two LEFT BANKEs. Mike Brown, harpsichord and piano player and chief songwriter for the group, decided several months ago that he didn’t like performing and touring; Emmett Lake, of the East Village Other, took Mike’s place as keyboard man when the group performed. Harry Lookofsky, producer and manager of the Left Banke, meanwhile had a falling out with the members of the group (partly involving the fact that he owed them money) and informed them that he and Mike (who happens to be Lookofsky’s son) were forming a new group. This new group would be called the Left Banke, and, since Lookofsky held the original contract, would record for Mercury Records. Brown would be on sessions, but as a performing group the new Left Banke would be 100 percent different from the first. These things have come to pass: the original Left Banke members are looking for a new contract with another company and are planning to sue Lookofsky for using their name and breaking their contract. Which Left Banke is the real Left Banke is a matter of taste and semantics; anyway, somebody has a very nice album.

PHlL SPECTOR described the total assault of seeing/hearing the GRATEFUL DEAD at SF’s Winterland as “unbelievable,” and suggested that all visitors to America be driven directly from the airport to the nearest total environment rock ballroom…Jerry Garcia feels the same way about “River Deep Mountain High” …::: TAJ MAHAL (once of the Rising Sons) has a single out: “Sister Kate,” on Columbia. ::: Record producers are, as usual, stumbling around muttering about the lack of material today. As a public service, then, Crawdaddy! presents an uncertified list of fine songwriters you may not know about (but should): Jackson Browne (Nina Music); Larry Beckett & Tim Buckley (Third Story Music); Leonard Cohen; Pamela Polland & Rick Stanley (of the Gentle Soul); Ray Davies (of the Kinks); Felix Pappalardi (Windfall Music);Van Dyke Parks; Lou Reed (of the Velvet Underground); Greg Copeland & Steve Noonan (Nina Music); Clarke-Nash-Hicks (of the Hollies); Mike Brown (of the Left Banke); Jim Smith (ask around Hollywood); Nick Gravenites (Nina Music); Dino Valenti (also called Chet Powers—Third Story Music); Eric von Schmidt; Stephen Stills & Neil Young (of the Buffalo Springfield) These people have already written more beautiful songs than you could produce or sing in a lifetime, and they’re all getting better. Go to them.

PAUL MCCARTNEY looked up JEFFERSON AIRPLANE when he was in town (SF) the other day, and spent some time jamming with them. The Airplane is flying very high these days: their single is getting a great deal of airplay, their LP just jumped forty-four places in the charts in a week, and they’ve got an eight-page color spread in the May 7 issue of Look magazine. They’ll be at Boston’s Unicorn Coffee House April 18-30, and will be featured in the “American Festival of Music ‘67,” in Boston April 20-23, which also includes Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson, and Thelonious Monk.

Brad Pierce, formerly of Ondine, is opening a club in Sheridan Square in New York called SALVATION; the place holds over 200 people, has cushions on the floor instead of chairs, plenty of room for dancing, and good intentions. Brad (who was responsible for first bringing the Doors, the Daily Flash, and the Buffalo Springfield to New York) sincerely wants both the best live rock available and the hippest possible clientele—rock heads and happy teenybops mixing with the Super Celebrities in the back room. The club opens May 1st; what it will turn into no one knows, but at least it’s being pointed in good directions. ::: If you buy a Mercury, Smash, Fontana, or Philips LP, buy mono. Every record made by that company since early last summer has been compatible; that is, the mono and stereo jackets have the same record inside, a stereo pressing that can be played with a mono cartridge. ::: If you’re on the East Side (or the East Coast) on a weekend, stop in and hear DAVE ROTER at the Dom; he’s mean.

The DOORS are currently recording their second album, to be released probably in August; tracks include “My Eyes Have Seen You,” “Strange,” and their new masterpiece, a fifteen-minute interpretation of “Gloria.” ::: MOBY GRAPE, COUNTRY JOE & the FISH, GRATEFUL DEAD may all be in New York at various times in May. Vanguard has a Country Joe LP almost ready for release, which will include the three tracks now available on their beautiful EP. The Dead’s album is out, and it’s very strong; Dave Hassinger worked with the group excellently, and Warner Bros. really seems to be behind them all the way. Moby Grape’s negotiations with record companies remain a total mystery, even to the companies involved. ::: ARTHUR “BIG BOY” CRUDUP rediscovered; look for him in Central Park at the end of the summer. ::: Crawdaddy! doesn’t come out often enough because, frankly, it doesn’t have nearly enough money to keep its head above water. If you’d like to get two or three of your friends to subscribe ($5/12 issues, 319 6th Ave, NYC) we wouldn’t mind too much …::: Bye—Paul Williams