One album wonders: The Merry-Go-Round

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 6, 2015 01:25pm | Post a Comment


This week's One Album Wonder is the 1960s baroque pop band The Merry-Go-Round, who released their only album in October 1967. Although several members played in the band, few would challenge the claim that the ringleader of the band was a prodigious then-teenager named Emitt Rhodes

The Merry-Go-Round band photo
The Merry-Go-Round, taken from a promo photo

Emitt Lynn Rhodes was born 25 February 1950 in Decatur, Illinois. In 1955 the Rhodes family moved to Hawthorne, California, drawn by a job in the aerospace industry. When he was fourteen, Rhodes played drums in a high school dance band, The Emerals, with Bill Leeder, Dennis Troll, and three brothers from MontrealDon, Dave, and John Beaudine, The Emerals split but Rhodes soon rejoined the brothers Beaudine alongside Chuck McLung, Mike Conley, and Don Grady (Don Agrati) in the decidedly Anglophiliac band, The Palace Guard.

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One Album Wonders: Opal's Happy Nightmare Baby

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 29, 2015 12:00am | Post a Comment

Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby

Opal was an American band associated with the Paisley Underground and whose guiding force was David Roback, a guitarist and songwriter from Pacific Palisades. Roback graduated from high school in 1975 and in 1981 formed The Sidewalks who, renamed Rain Parade, were seminal within the Paisley Underground scene. 

Opal band photo

Roback quit Rain Parade in 1983 after the release of their debut and formed Clay Allison with Kendra Smith from The Dream Syndicate on bass and Keith Mitchell (drums). As Clay Allison the band released “Fell from the Sun” b/w “All Souls.” After they changed their name to Opal, they released two EPs, Fell from the Sun (1984) and Northern Line (1985), which were later combined and released as Early Recordings. Opal’s sole full-length, the mostly T.Rex-indebted (albeit almost narcoleptically laid back) Happy Nightmare Baby, followed in 1987. 

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One Album Wonders Northside's Chicken Rhythms

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 23, 2015 03:55pm | Post a Comment


My introduction to the quartet named Northside came in my second year of college, I believe, a few years after the release of their only album, Chicken Rhythms. As a teenage fan of all things Madchester, I'd heard of them, of course, but it wasn't until Liz lent me a cassette that I was able to give it a listen. Although I was at first dismissive of what seemed to me to be by-the-numbers Baggy, over time the album unexpectedly grew on me.

Northside were formed in 1989 by Warren "Dermo" Dermody (vocals and United supporter) and Cliff Ogier (bass and City supporter). They were soon after joined by Michael "Upto" Upton (guitar) and Paul Walsh (drums). Upton was soon after replaced by Timmy WalshAll were residents of either Blackley or Moston, in Manchester's Northside. In August they recorded a demo at The Cutting Rooms, part of Abraham Moss College

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One Album Wonders: The Paris Sisters Singer Everything Under the Sun!!!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 16, 2015 03:48pm | Post a Comment

The Paris Sisters

Real life siblings Priscilla, Albeth, and Sherrell began cutting records as The Paris Sisters in 1954. In the fifteen years that followed, they only released on full-length studio LP and in their final year as a recording unit. The San Francisco trio did appear on more than 25 singles, however, and are best remembered for the perfect pop hit, “I Love How You Love Me."

The Paris Sister Decca years

When The Paris Sisters first performed, they did so in the style of earlier popular sister acts like The Boswell SistersThe Andrews Sisters and The McGuire Sisters, releasing nine singles through Decca (two backing Bings son, Gary) that didn’t perform terribly well commercially. In 1957 they released two singles for Imperial that also went nowhere.

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One Album Wonders: The La's

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 9, 2015 03:48pm | Post a Comment

The La's

In 2000, Pearl Jam treated their audience to a cover of The La’s“Timeless Melody.” Eddie Vedder, addressing the Mancunian audience characteristically mumbled, “Hey! There’s a good, uh — fuckin’ good? -- a great band who made one great record and they’re called The La’s and I think they’re from your town… I believe. A great songwriter from your town… his last name ain’t Gallagher.” 

Vedder's geographical mix-up could’ve, under the wrong circumstances, ignited a full scale riot but The La’s were a great band and what sensible person wouldn’t want to be associated with their brilliance. Also, Lee Mavers’s name “ain’t” Gallagher but — along with other Scouse bands like Rain and The Real People — the so-called Cosmic Scally scene arguably had much more influence on Oasis than the Manchester scene which quickly stole its spotlight. Also, both the Gallaghers and Mavers are dyed-in-the-blue-wool football supporters — the Gallaghers of “The Sky Blues” (Man City) and Mavers of “The Blues” (Everton).

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