In the early 1970s, the collective known as The California Playboys was the backing band for R&B singer Lester Young (not to be confused with the jazz saxophonist of same name) on a series of singles, before recording their sole album, Trying To Become A Millionaire, under their own name. The instrumental precision of Trying To Become A Millionaire is immediately evident; clearly the product of a group of seasoned session musicians. Incorporating Latin music elements, pre-disco rhythms, bouncy funk bass lines and seamlessly clean guitar, the album calls to mind the music of Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Bobbi Humphrey. Depending on the track, the vocal delivery is at times reminiscent of Bobby Womack, Donny Hathaway or even Marvin Gaye, but all provide a complimentary gravity and substance to the flawless instrumentals. The album was never repressed or reissued since its initial run on the San Francisco-based Loadstone label in 1976. Original vinyl copies, when they even appear, have been known to sell for $1,000 or more among collectors. For the first time in nearly 40 years, Manufactured Recordings is proud to present this highly coveted soul treasure on LP and CD to a new audience of fans.
The enigmatic electro/synth funk artist known as Million Dollar Ecstacy is actually the work of multi-instrumentalist songwriter Schyl Perry. In 1987, Perry released this self-titled eight song private press 12" on the Sacred Light label. Drawing from influences both expected (Michael Jackson, Prince, Quincy Jones) and unexpected (Kiss, Jackie Wilson and L.L. Cool J), this unique and seldom-heard record exhibits some of the most adventurous electro-funk sounds of its era, accompanied by colorful samples and bold instrumental flourishes. Lyrically, Perry's songs illustrate the disparities he observed in the world around him at the time: the greed and projected opulence of '80s Oakland street culture, as well as the darker implications of the crack epidemic of the time. The album has experienced a renewed interest among collectors in the ensuing years, often fetching more than $150 for original copies. Manufactured Recordings is proud to make this lost classic available again for the first time in 28 years. This CD reissue includes all 8 original tracks, as well as never before released photos of Perry, liner notes and an interview conducted by noted hip-hop/ funk collector and columnist Chairman Jeff Mao, all of which are unique to this release.
Nick Currie, the wildly prolific and much loved writer, artist and musician known as Momus began his career in 1986 with the acclaimed album "Circus Maximus," a quietly striking collection of inventive acoustic songs. While his later work would bring him to altogether different realms, on first listen, it's obvious Momus' signature charm and inventive lyricism arrived fully formed, making the record an immensely enjoyable listen from start to finish. Mixing a lively folk troubadour style worthy of Bert Jansch, along with a sunny voice befitting Donovan, Momus delivers what some consider the template for early Belle & Sebastian. The playfully eccentric collection of songs delivers punchy doses of folk balladry, Judeo-Christian imagery and a positively withering sense of humor. This expanded edition of Momus' long out-of-print debut debut album also includes a selection of three EPs from the same period: "The Beast With Three Backs" EP, the "Murderers, The Hope of Women" EP, as well as the "Jacky" EP.
In January of 1980, James Smith's band, The Containers (which, at one time, featured his friend Robyn Hitchcock of The Soft Boys on guitar) suddenly broke up and he was left on his own. "Sod it!" he thought. Armed only with his guitar, a drum machine and his flatmate's girlfriend, Jill Fricker, to sing backup vocals, he forged ahead with his new project: The Beach Bullies.
The Beach Bullies somehow manages to sound simultaneously classic and exceptionally ahead of their time, characterized by alternating vocals and a minimal aesthetic reminiscent of their contemporaries The Television Personalities and Young Marble Giants, as well as acts that would come later, such as The Vaselines, The Pastels, and Small Factory.
This LP presents their long out of print original album, along with a digital download of previously unreleased demos and rough mixes intended for a follow-up release that never came to fruition. The liner notes also include previously unreleased photos of James and Jill from the time of the recordings, along with witty anecdotes from James himself, giving the full scoop on how this unique record came to be in the first place.
Originating from Wellington, New Zealand and arriving in the U.K. at the back end of the '80s, The Wild Poppies and their "Warm Wall of Sound" resided somewhere between the jangle pop of other indie scene favorites such as The Rain Parade and The Church and the proto-shoegaze of Loop, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine. Basing themselves in Oxford, and touring with well-known contemporaries such as Ride and Swervedriver (their housemates), The Wild Poppies forged a name for themselves and enjoyed a "1001 night" season as a touring favorite, before dissolving in the face of the impending U.K. rave culture. After that, as guitarist Nick Taylor states, "Nobody ever saw The Wild Poppies... Very few at least, and I suspect that those few that did can actually remember it now. I certainly can't, and I was IN the Wild Poppies." This collection compiles their long out-of-print "Heroine" LP, the "Stare at the Sun" 7", the "Out of Time" EP as well as demos for many latter-day tracks (both released and unreleased).