Top 5 | Andrew Loog Oldham Protegees

 

 

Whilst most famous for masterminding the early success of the Rolling Stones and founding Immediate Records, Andrew Loog Oldham also had a thing for girl singers of folk pop and blue eyed soul. Here’s an introduction to Oldham’s Brit girls – although not all the tracks featured here were produced by Oldham, all the performers were, at some point in their careers, associated with him.

5. LORRAINE CHILD – YOU

16-year-old Lorraine Child’s single You’/‘Not This Time was released either – depending on the source – in August or September 1964. Not much else is known about the young songstress. You, partly penned by Oldham, is a representative example of mid-1960s Brit girl pop – heartbreak, lavish production and candied vocals. The single failed to make an impact on the charts and it sadly ended up being Child’s only release.

 

 

4. ADRIENNE POSTER – SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

Adrienne Poster is better known as actress Adrienne Posta, most famous for portraying Rube in 1968’s ‘slumming it in Battersea’ classic Up the Junction. However, she also released several singles under Oldham’s direction in the mid-1960s. This one from 1965 is an up tempo version of MargaretMandolph’s Something Beautiful, released when Posta was only 16 years old. Catchy and full of good vibrations (‘To love and care is one thing/But to love and share is really something beautiful…’),the track later became a favourite on the Northern soul scene.

 

 

3. VASHTI – WINTER IS BLUE

Could this be the saddest song ever written? With lines such as ‘I am alone/Waiting for nothing/If my heart freezes/I won’t feel the breaking’, the song is surely perfect for those wishing to dwell on their heartbreak. Co-written and performed by Vashti (who later began to use her full name Vashti Bunyan), the track in its stripped-down glory is a great example of British pop folk in 1967. However, although Winter is Blue was featured on the Tonite Lets All Make Love in London soundtrack and Vashti also released her LP Just Another Diamond Day in 1970, she quickly faded into obscurity. Nevertheless, Diamond Day was to become a collector’s item, and her work was rediscovered some thirty years later; she has since been championed by high-profile new-folkies such as Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart. Bunyan’s second album Lookaftering was released in 2005.

 

 

2. BARRY ST JOHN – GOTTA BRAND NEW MAN

Doesn’t she remind one of Dusty Springfield at her raunchiest? Glaswegian-born Barry St John was one of the many overlooked but talented Brit girls of the 1960s who could have been huge. Blessed with a fantastic voice and seasoned at Hamburg’s famous Star Club, St John could take on the American soulstresses in their own game. This track, co-written by Barry herself and produced by Mickie Most, is a great example of British soul that was neglected in its time, but has since become valued by the Northern soul folks.

 

 

1. MARIANNE FAITHFULL – IS THIS WHAT I GET FOR LOVING YOU?

Surely the best known of Oldham’s girl protegees, Marianne Faithfull was the ultimate bad girlof Swinging London. The muse of Mick Jagger, victim of the 1960s, drug addict, fallen angel, bad mother – these labels attached to Faithfull and her turbulent personal life have frequently overshadowed the fact that she has also provided us with some great tunes. Is This What I Get for Loving You? stands out as one of her best. Originally recorded by the Ronettes in 1965, Faithfull’s version was released two years later and, compared to her previous singles, did not do particularly well in the charts. However, Is This What I Get is a charming little number dominated by Faithfull’s cold yet emotive vocals and Oldham’s lavish production (harpsichord, strings, horns…) – it could have easily been a huge hit.

 

 

Sini Timonen

 

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