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Archive for December 4th, 2014

Let Them Show You: RPM Highlights 1960s’ International Acts with Four New Releases

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ShanesRPM Records has recently released four CDs charting the history of three acts that might not have gained much international attention outside of their home countries, but are still worthy of attention.  From Sweden, RPM has an anthology for The Shanes and two expanded editions of The Mascots’ only two LPs; from France comes the complete recordings of the chanteuse known as Pussy Cat.  Each of these releases is designed to bring greater attention to these little-known artists.

The Shanes hailed from the town of Kiruna in the northern part of Sweden.  The band was made up of members Tommy Wahlburg (vocals, guitars), Svante Elfgren (bass), Tor-Erik Rautio (drums) and Staffan Berggren (vocals, guitars).   Taking their name from the 1953 Alan Ladd western Shane, the group began as an instrumental outfit first hitting the charts in 1963 with “Gunfight Saloon.”  Their direction changed after opening for the Beatles in 1964 in Stockholm.  Moving away from instrumentals they morphed into a rougher R&B direction, eventually akin to The Animals or Manfred Mann while also writing almost all of their material.  This new direction paid off when the single “Let Me Show You Who I Am” hit the top of Sweden’s Tio I topp charts.  After that release, the group became a quintet when vocalist Lennart Grahn joined.   An LP entitled Let Us Show You! was released to capitalize on the single’s success.  In April, 1965, the single “I Don’t Want Your Love” hit the charts and went to No. 6 in Sweden.  It was released in the U.K., but, alas, failed to gain any chart traction.  The band itself would go to London to record the single “Chris-Craft No.9” at Abbey Road Studios.  The memorable February 1967 single would hit No. 2 on the Swedish charts; it was much later included by Now Sounds on the label’s first Book a Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records collection.  Amidst some personnel changes, the band began to move in a more pop direction and most of its members were called in military service in late 1967 for 10 months.  Against a changing musical scene in Sweden, the group eventually broke up in 1969.  RPM’s Let Them Show You: The Anthology 1964-1967 provides a look at the group’s heyday covering material from five LPs and various singles.

Your MascotsThe Beatles also had a large influence on another group to hit the Swedish charts in the mid-60s:  The Mascots.  Seeing John, Paul, George and Ringo at their first Stockholm appearance in October of 1963 spurred the group into a direction which would make them a success.  The Mascots had gone through several names and permutations before that 1963 date but firmed up a line-up consisting of Anders Forsslund (vocals, bass), Rolf “Boffe” Adolfsson (vocals, drums), Gunnar Idering (vocals, guitars) and Stefan Ringbom (vocals, guitars).  The group was quite young with the members ranging in ages from 14-16; they were students at Adolf Fredericks Musikklasser, a Swedish music school.  The band began writing their own material in English and Swedish and won a competition in 1964 which led to radio airplay and eventually to a contract with Decca Records.   They even got to perform with their idols, The Beatles, at the same 1964 show as The Shanes!   The Mascots continued releasing singles, evolving to a sound closer to that of The Zombies.  Their first LP was released in 1965 entitled Your Mascots.  It included twelve tracks, six of which had previously been singles.  RPM has expanded this record with an additional nine single sides, including one which was withdrawn at the time.  Later in 1965, the song “Words Enough to Tell You” was released on a flexi-disc for Swedish teen magazine Bild journalen and was voted the winner among the disc’s contents (including beating out a song by The Shanes).

After the jump: more on The Mascots, plus, we ask: What’s New, Pussy Cat?  We also have full track listings with discography for all releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 4, 2014 at 11:27