Episode 104 – That Was The Year That Was (2022)

Catching up with Darryl Bullock for a chat about music is always a pleasure. To finish off the year, we take a look at some of our favourite record purchases over the last twelve months.

  • Awkward Encounters Walking My Dog – Benjamin Thomas Wild
  • Liza Jane (Alternative Mix) – David Bowie
  • Sick – Supergrass
  • Farewell OK – Elvis Costello
  • God If I Saw Her Now (Demo) – Anthony Phillips
  • For No One (Take 10 – Backing Track) – The Beatles
  • Home Again – Lucy Dacus
  • Portobello Market – The Sad Dale Orchestra
  • Foolish Season – Dana Gillespie
  • Dawn Breaks Through – The Purple Barrier
  • Watch Over Me – Lissie
  • Seesaw – Andy Partridge
  • All Along The Watchtower – The Nashville Teens
  • A Memory Of A Memory – Oil Spleen
  • Prisencolinsensinainciusol – Andriano Celentano
  • Jamaica Far Away – Sir Anthony Lanza Cocozza
  • Ecstasy – Deluxor
  • Nomatterday – Pixies
  • Isabelle – T. Truman
  • Everything Is Connected – Blancmange

Imaginary Album Covers

I came across a wonderful Twitter account called Images That Could Be Album Covers recently. Over Christmas, I thought that I would give these fake band names & album titles.

Wind Waves – Wind Waves (Self Titled)
The Radical Doods – The Devil Is In The Detail
Neruval – Senses Deleted
Ingenium – Ice Cream Planet
Sea Radio – Blood Red Sun
Stereo Club – Room With A View
Anderson Council – Original Conceit
Bleeding Death – Hell
The Crimson Brothers – Daylight To Minas
Power Lines – Established Title
St. Charteris – Reflector
Lateral Movies – Nothing To See Here!
Uber Maschine – The Word According To……
Wry Smile – Honest Affair
Five Poets – Milky Way Holiday
Jawbone – Born In The Shadows

Various Artists – All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle

A year ago, I posted a collection of what could only be described as, not the best Christmas records that have ever been made. One of the songs on that collection was ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle’ by British actress, Dora Bryan. I knew that there were a number of Beatles related novelty records and I wondered if there was enough to make an LP full of ones with a Christmas theme. To my surprise, there is. 

Even though The Beatles released their first single in 1962, it was in the following year that their popularity skyrocketed with the term Beatlemania being coined in October of 1963 to describe the hysteria the band caused where ever they went. It was in this year that the first Christmas Beatle themed record was released with the aforementioned Dora Bryan. What I find quite surprising, is this is the only one from that year I could find. 1964 would be different matter all together with every other song from this collection coming from that year, with the majority coming from North America. 

The Beatles had not had the best of starts in North America. British artists before them had had some chart success in the U.S., but not that much. Capitol, EMI’s label in the U.S. initially refused the release Beatle records so Vee-Jay, one of the first African-American owned labels were offered a chance to release the bands records. The records did not sell particularly well to begin with but this was about to change. 

The Beatles themselves came to North American when they made a short visit in early 1964, but word of their music and style had been reported in the US press from late 1963. Their single, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ was a radio hit before being released three weeks early than initially planned (by a now on board Capitol) and Vee-Jay started to see the benefit of their deal because the songs they had the licenses for started selling in huge quantities. With an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and a US tour, it was no surprise that 1964 was also the year where a good many people though that releasing a Beatles themed Christmas record was a sure fire way of achieving massive sales and profits. As it turns out, none of these made much of a dent in the charts with the record being public more keen on the real thing. 

What of the song themselves. For some reason, and this is true of non Christmas related Beatles songs,  Ringo is defiantly the most popular Beatle. He is the only member of the band mentioned by name in any of the titles. It also seems to be a case of finding anything to rhyme with Ringo. For example, there was bingo, by jingo, thingo etc. According to Gerry Ferrier, Ringo also became the name of one of Santa’s reindeer due to not having antlers, but Beatle hair. John might not have been such a popular choice as news that he was married (and with a son) had already became known after initially being kept secret. I’m not sure why the other two aren’t mentioned much. Considering these songs were written in isolation, there is quite a number who share the same title. There are also plenty of references to holding Beatle hands as well.

After 1964, it seems that the time of wanting a Beatle for Christmas had passed. There weren’t any Beatles Christmas related novelty songs from 1965 onwards, unless you know any better. Was it that the bands audience were growing up? Was it down to the image of the band changing, in no small part to the music they were making becoming more mature? Whatever the reason, this is a fascinating snapshot of a time when Beatlemania ruled the world. 

Side A

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle – Dora Bryan
  2. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – Patty Surbey
  3. Santa Bring Me Ringo – Christina Hunter
  4. Ringo Deer – Garry Ferrier
  5. Ringo Bells – Three Blonde Mice
  6. Santa Bring Me Ringo – Tich

Side B

  1. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – Becky Lee Beck
  2. Bring Me A Beatle For Christmas – Cindy Rella
  3. Bring Me The Beatles For Christmas – Jackie & Jill
  4. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – The Fans
  5. Christmas With The Beatles – Judy & The Duets

The cover image was taken from a Pinterist post by Nanna, and is based on the Beatles cartoon that ran on US TV between 1965 to 1967. I also included the VJ Records logo because if this had been released back in the 1960’s, I am sure they would have been the company who would want to cash in after losing their cash cow not long after gaining it. 

A massive thanks to Darryl Bullock for his help in putting this compilation together. Check out his rather fine website dedicated to the wonderful world of bad records. https://worldsworstrecords.blogspot.com/

Bee Gees – Christmas EP

When it comes to the Bee Gee’s 60s catalogue, it has been well served with re-releases in both mono and stereo versions along with alternative mixes and unreleased tracks. A number of these had a Christmas theme so I have put them together as an EP that the band could have released in 1968 instead of the single ‘I Started A Joke’.

The opening song is All My Christmases (Came At Once) which the Gibb brothers had given to The Majority to be used in the film ‘The Mini Mob’, or ‘The Mini Affair’ depending on which market you are looking at. The next two songs were both recorded for a Christmas themed television show called ‘How On Earth’, that was filmed at Liverpool Cathedral. We finish up with a demo of a 1968 song called ‘Come Some Christmas Eve Our Halloween’, which might not have the most festive of lyrics by Robin Gibb, but he would come back to this song for his festive album ’My Favourite Christmas Carols’ in 2006. 

Side A

  1. All My Christmas (Came At Once)
  2. Medley – Hark The Herald Angels Sing/Silent Night

Side B

  1. Thank You For Christmas
  2. Come Some Christmas Eve Or Halloween

I could not find a Christmas picture of the group from the late 60s, so I adapted the cover of an unofficial album that shows them performing in a studio. Not very festive, but it does look good. 

Robin Gibb – Sing Slowly Sisters

Following on from our look at The Bee Gees album that never was in our last post, we are now going to have a look at what Robin did in his first attempt at a solo career. Initially, Robin’s solo career started with a bang with his first song ‘Saved By The Bell’ making number 2 in the UK singles charts. This single is thought to be one of the first to have been a hit with a drum machine on it. The drum machine sound might have been something new in 1969, but it has dated the recording on which it was used. After this impressive start, the momentum was lost. ‘One Million Years’, the follow up single was a minor hit and the parent album which was called ‘Robin’s Reign’ did some good business in Germany and Canada but failed to chart in the rest of the world. Unperturbed, Robin continued to record as a solo artist even though he did admit that at this stage he missed the camaraderie of working with his brothers. 

The songs on these sessions dispersed with the drum machine and for the most part included orchestral arrangements to flush out the sound. Were these songs meant for a second album? Robin himself was unsure and hinted that he was not really trying to be a solo artist, but doing something to bide the time. The production on these songs would say otherwise considering Robin is backed up with what sounds like a full orchestra. As it was, none of these recording saw the light of day until 2015 when the ‘Saved By The Bell’ compilation was released, which was a collection of Robin Gibb’s solo work between 1968 and 1970. If only the solo works of Maurice and Barry would get this sort of treatment. This second album has been given the name ‘Sing Slowly Sisters’ down the years and using the material included on the aforementioned release, I have put together what could have been his second album, especially if Barry and Maurice had continued to release material as The Bee Gees*. In reality, by June of 1970, he and Maurice were back in the studio and by August, Barry had joined them reuniting The Bee Gees who would keep recording until Maurice passed away in 2003.

Side A

  1. Engines Aeroplanes
  2. I’ve Been Hurt
  3. Return To Austria
  4. Everything Is How You See Me
  5. The Flag I Flew
  6. Anywhere I Hang My Hat
  7. Life

Side B

  1. Sing Slowly Sisters
  2. Loud & Clear
  3. C’est La Vie, Au Revoir
  4. Irons On The Fire
  5. It’s Only Make Believe
  6. All’s Well That End’s Well


  1. Great Caesars Ghost
  2. Sky West & Crooked

‘Great Caesars Ghost’ was talked about as being a single at the time, so if we were to continue with the time line of the second LP, why not have a single to go with it. ‘Sky West & Crooked’ was included as the B-Side because it sounds more like a demo and not the finished, orchestrated material that made up the rest of the album. It just sounded too out of place to be on the album but too good to be forgotten about completley. The front cover of the LP is taken from ‘I Design Album Covers’ website (https://idesignalbumcovers.tumblr.com). 

*See the previous entry for further information. 

Bee Gees – Sweet Heart

The career of The Bee Gees can be broken down into a number of distinct eras. 

  1. There is the pre-fame period. They started playing in bands in 1955 when Barry was nine and the twins Maurice & Robin being six whilst they lived in Manchester, UK. They moved to Australia in 1958 and started their recording career in 1963. They would continue to record in Australia with some success until 1966 when they decided to relocate back the UK.
  2. 1967 – 1969 and the first brush with fame. They also were a proper band at this time with the addition of drummer Colin Petersen and guitar player Vince Melouney. 
  3. 1970 – 1974. The wilderness years and the first solo projects.
  4. 1975 -1979. The disco behemoth. 
  5. 1980 – 1986. More solo records and outside projects. 
  6. 1987 onwards. A return to the top and becoming a heritage act. 

Thinking about it, it amazing how similar in trajectory The Bee Gees career to Fleetwood Mac, especially from 1967 to 1979. Anyway, in this months artists showcase we are going to look at the period between the 1969 and 1970 when The Bee Gees fragmented from a quintet to a duo, and then to nothing at all before reforming with just the Gibb Brothers and hired hands. 

Vince Melouney was the first to go, leaving the group because he wanted to play more blues orientated music than the brothers were producing at the time. Melouney does hold the distinction of being the only non Gibb to have a song on a post 1967 Bee Gees album. His parting was on good terms but not all was well within the Bee Gee camp. Matters came to a head after the release of the ‘Odessa’ album. The only single released from this LP was Barry’s ‘First Of May’. Robin felt that his song ‘Lamplight’ should have been chosen instead but had been relegated to the B-Side of the aforementioned ‘First of May’. Robin feeling that their manager Robert Stigwood was pushing Barry towards being the frontman of the group decided to leave the group and strike out on his own. 

Barry & Maurice soldiered on as The Bee Gees and even showed a doctors note for nervous exhaustion on the ‘Happening For Lulu’ show to explain Robin’s absence. Barry & Maurice decided to produce a film and album under the name of ‘Cucumber Castle’, which had been a song on their 1967 ‘1st’ album. The film consists of Barry and Maurice playing two Princess who have their father’s Kingdom divided up so one if the King of Cucumber, and the other is the King of Jelly. The plot , if it can be described as one, is non sensical. It is essentially a mix of sketches with a curious mix of Medieval imagery combined with scenes with guns that are not exactly from the Middle Ages. The cast includes Frankie Howard, Vincent Price and Spike Milligan. 

These sketches were interspersed with musical numbers from not only The Bee Gees themselves (which on the whole are excellent), but Lulu (who covers Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson whilst cleaning the castle) and live footage of Blind Faith from their gig in Hyde Park in 1969. That footage is not Medieval at all either. The film was screen on 26th December 1970 by which time, both Blind Faith and The Bee Gees had split up with the latter actually having the time to reform. This did receive a limited release on VHS back in the day but has not seen the light since. It has also been described as one of the rarest VHS releases of all time. 

You can actually watch the whole thing here, as long as it hasn’t been blocked on removed from YouTube. Apart form the music, it is pretty bad. You have been warned. 

On the music front, both Barry and Maurice well very busy. There was even talk of replacing Robin with a singer called Peter Mason. Though he may have helped on the recording of the song ‘Don’t Forget To Remember’, Mason did not end up as a Bee Gee with one theory stating that Stigwood was against the idea as he was hoping the three Gibb Brothers would reunite. Barry would also do some production work for P.P. Arnold with Maurice working with Australian band Tin Tin. These bouts of production would be fitted in work on the next Bee Gees album. Recordings on the ‘Cucumber Castle’  concluded in October 1969 but would not see the light of day until April the following year. You would think that an album by a major recording artist of the late 60’s would want their album out in time for the Christmas market, but this did not happen because on 1st December 1969, Barry announced he was leaving the Bee Gee’s. 

Maurice and Barry would start the new decade recording material for solo albums with both releasing singles. Barry with ‘I’ll Kiss Your Memory’ and Maurice with ‘The Loner’. With Robin also making recordings as a solo artist, 1970 look like a year of Bee Gees overkill. As it was, neither Maurice’s or Barry’s solo records appeared. In June, Maurice and Robin started to work together again and announced that they would reform as The Bee Gees, with or without Barry. Their elder brother came back into the fold and in November, they would release their ‘2 Years On’ album. 

But what if the ‘Cucumber Castle’ album had seen the light of day in December of 1969, and that Barry and Maurice decided to keep working as The Bee Gees? That would leave a gap in 1970 for another Bee Gees album to be released but what material would it consist of. Robin was still out of the picture at this point so we will have to use the songs that were recorded for the still unreleased solo records by Maurice and Barry. There was enough material from those solo recording to make two solo albums so reducing them down to one shouldn’t be too difficult should it?

Well, the production on the songs is as good as you would expect it to be. However, without the others contributing ideas, the songs themselves are not up to the standards you would expect from this period in the band’s career. They lack the spark and harmonies that having brothers singing together can bring. I have kept the songs from the two singles Maurice and Barry released separate from the album and what we have is a good album, but not a classic. It would have been obvious to all that if this had happened, the Gibb Brothers really needed each other to produce the classic material that they are known for. Apart from the singles, very few of these songs have seen the light of day. ‘One Bad Thing’ was covered by a few artists in 1971 and ‘The Loner’ was used in the film Bloomfield. 

Side A

  1. Journey To The Misty Mountains (Maurice Gibb)
  2. The Loner (Maurice Gibb)
  3. Please Lock Me Away (Maurice Gibb)
  4. The Day You Eyes Met Mine (Barry Gibb)
  5. Happiness (Barry Gibb)
  6. Silly Little Girl (Maurice Gibb)
  7. I Just Wanna Take Care Of You (Barry Gibb)

Side B

  1. One Bad Thing (Barry Gibb)
  2. The Victim (Barry Gibb)
  3. Peace In My Mind (Barry Gibb)
  4. Mando Bay (Barry Gibb)
  5. Soldier Johnny (Maurice Gibb)
  6. She’s The One You Love (Maurice Gibb)


  1. Railroad (Maurice Gibb)
  2. I’ve Come Back (Maurice Gibb)
  1. I’ll Kiss Your Memory (Barry Gibb)
  2. This Time (Barry Gibb)

Finding a picture of the two man Bee Gees is not easy, so I took the picture sleeved for the Belgium edition of the I.O.I.O. single. I could edit out the title of the A-Side but the B-Side of Sweet Heart was a bit beyond my skills. The song may have appeared on the Cucumber Castle album, but this would not be the first time the Bee Gees took an album title from a song from a previous LP. I replaced the pink Polydor logo of the original release with the traditional red one, and the catalogue number was the one used by John Hunt at the ‘I Design Album Covers’ site for the unreleased solo albums these songs were taken from.  

As a side note, the ‘Cucumber Castle’ film and album would also be the last time drummer Colin Petersen was involved in a Bee Gees project. He was fired for not turning up to recording sessions and not taking an interest in filming, which is odd as Petersen had been a child actor. Petersen himself put it down the fact that he argued with Robert Stigwood over his role with the band. Stigwood not only managed the band but was their producer, the music publisher and owned the recordings.