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Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Mickey Finn

From John N comes a link for a great lost 60's band, I snatched it ONE day before the link was going to
expire, and I'm glad I did.....they were featured on yesterday's "Mojo Presents: Paint It Black" set......I could describe them for you but the attached review does a fine enough job, so let's take the easy way out and go this direction:

The Mickey Finn traveled in the same circles as The Rolling Stones and The Pretty Things, but despite some very close calls, the band never hit the big time.  Garden of My Mind: The Complete Recordings collects The Mickey Finn’s 1964-1967 Blue Beat, Oriole, Columbia, Polydor and Direction singles along with previously unreleased demo recordings to paint a full portrait of the cult-favorite band.

The story of The Mickey Finn began in the U.K. circa 1962 when guitarist Mickey Waller joined with drummer Richard Brand in The Strangers.  By 1963, Waller and Brand had teamed with bassist John Burkett, vocalist Alan Mark and keyboardist John “Fluff Cooke” as Mickey Finn and The Blue Men.  Under this moniker, the group released a trio of singles, all included here: “Tom Hark” b/w “Please Love Me” on Blue Beat, and “Pills” b/w “Hush Your Mouth” and “Reelin’ and A’ Rockin'” b/w “I Still Want You” on Oriole.  These singles established the band’s “bluebeat” sound and featured choice contributions from friend Jimmy Page – not on guitar, but on harmonica!  Page also joined the band for some onstage gigs.

As 1964 ended, John Burkett departed the group and was replaced by Mick Stannard.  Columbia signed Porgy and Bess showstopper “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”  (Ironically, the character who sings that song in the original musical-folk opera is named Sporting Life!)  The recording is included here along with “God Bless the Child,” as both tracks later saw release on Talmy’s Orbit label.  Two more demos from this period, “Stagger Lee” and “Poverty,” debut on this collection.
the group with its newly-stripped down moniker of Mickey Finn for one single produced by Shel Talmy, “The Sporting Life” b/w “Night Comes Down.”  Both sides were co-written by Talmy, and it’s a possibility that Jimmy Page played guitar on these sessions per Alan Mark in the liner notes.  Talmy recorded other tracks with the band that didn’t see release at the time, including a version of George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward’s
As The Mickey Finn, the band released its next 45 on Polydor in 1966: a cover of Billy Stewart’s “I Do Love You” b/w Pam Sawyer and Lori Burton’s ballad “If I Had You Baby.”  Mick Stannard was next to leave the group, and he was replaced first by Rod Clark and then by Bernie Jory.  Demos from this transitional period are included here, as is The Mickey Finn’s next (and final) single, for CBS’ Direction label in 1967.  The original song “Garden of My Mind,” written by Finn, Mark and Jory, was backed on 45 by “Time to Start Loving You,” credited to all five members.  Richard Gottehrer (“My Boyfriend’s Back,” “I Want Candy”) produced this single, which should have established the band as a top-flight purveyor of freakbeat/psychedelia.

The Mickey Finn continued to perform and tour through 1968 before its members called it a day, but RPM’s new release shows the group as a potent might-have-been with a small if strong legacy of great music.  Garden of My Mind: The Complete Recordings presents these recordings in non-chronological sequence.  It has been remastered by Simon Murphy and features liner notes by Brian Neavyn based on his interviews with the band members for Ugly Things magazine.

The Mickey Finn, Garden of My Mind: The Complete Recordings 1964-1967 (RPM Retro 972, 2015) 
I Still Want You
Garden of My Mind
Night Comes Down
Hush Your Mouth
Time to Start Loving You
(It) Ain’t Necessarily So
If I Had You Baby
The Sporting Life
Because I Love You (I Do Love You)                               
Reelin’ and A’Rockin’
Stagger Lee
Miss Jane
God Bless the Child
Tom Hark
Please Love Me

Tracks 1 & 5 from Oriole single CB 1927, 1964
Tracks 2 & 11 from Oriole single CB 1940, 1964                       
Tracks 3 & 6 from Direction single 58-3086, 1967
Tracks 4 & 9 from Columbia single DB 7510, 1965
Tracks 7 & 15 rec. 1965, issued on Orbit single, 1995
Tracks 8 & 10 from Polydor single 56719, 1966
Tracks 12-14 previously unissued demos
Tracks 16-17 from Blue Beat single 203, 1964