Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Way Ticket President catalog number PTLS 1069

Here's what the liner notes on this mid-1970s obscurity have to say: 
"One Way Ticket are an Anglo-American band who were formed in Florida, USA, a couple of years ago.  Derek 'Dinky' Stephens and Steve 'QPR' Mackrill came from England searching for the winter sun.  Eric 'Hobit' Ansel and Mike 'Strider' Pallahack were about to embark to Europe to test the local brew - while staying in a little Florida town they all met up and decided to get together to play a few gigs.  It wasn't long before they found themselves in the studios putting down tracks for an album.  Being four very popular guys, they had no trouble getting friends to help them out."
Originally I had no idea if any of that was true, though I suspected there might have been at least a shred of reality in that description.  As it turned out Edward Kassner's President Records was still in business, so out of idol curiosity I figured I check with them to see if the could shed some light on the LP.  The response I got back did little to solve the mystery:
We don’t know much about the album, or the artist for that matter.  It may have come from a film soundtrack but that is not confirmed.  It is apparently rare, so you may want to hang on to it, or try selling it to a collector. Sorry to have so little information for you.
David Kassner
President Records Ltd
Units 6 & 7 
11 Wyfold Road
London SW6 6SE , England

Naturally the liner notes and the response were total crap. Luckily, in 2006 the Japanese Air Mail Archive label reissued the album in CD format with several bonus tracks.  I believe the following information comes from that reissue package:
The 1960's in London were probably the most exciting years in the history of music as groups and singers from all over the country headed for the Capital (sic) to lay down their works of art in some of the best studios in the world. Recording engineers started to play an important part in the "new" sounds that had started with a strangers idea. 
During the sixties there were less than 10 major recording studios in London and one of them was called I.B.C. (The initials stood for International Broadcasting Corporation).  Situated in the heart of London's "West End" this independent company was to compete with the other studios, that were largely owned by the major record companies, mainly because of a good reputation. This came with the recording of the Kinks, The Stones, The Small Faces, The Who, The Be Gees, and many other artists who used the studio.

Two engineers who worked there all through these times were Damon Lynn Shaw (he was the engineer on the Who's "Tommy") and Brian Carroll (the first person to cut a master of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) and before long they had an urge to try their hands at production. The band that caught their eyes for their recently formed "Homegrown Music" production company was "The Factory" which was to result in the release of two singles that were to become collector's items 25 years later, the haunting "Path Through The Forest" and "Try A Little Sunshine". The Factory eventually split up and Damon and Brian were left to look for another project that they could record which was to also be a collectable group, "Five Day Rain". It was a venture that was brought together in the form of a studio band that would make a good album and the finished product was lined up for release through a major company. With no working band to go on the road it was decided to shelve its release and within six months the deal was dead. By then Five Day Rain had gone their separate ways with the main member Graham Maitland joining Glencoe. During the making of the album Damon and Brian discovered that could write songs with each other and as Damon was a multi musician (playing drums, bass, lead guitar and keyboards), it was not long before they were laying down tracks of their own.

Although busy working late into the night with their various clients they eventually had written enough songs to approach a leading music publisher. This was to be Acuff Rose, who published the great songs of The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison. When they got the chance Damon and Brian would be in the studios recording their latest composition but this could take a long time as there were only the two of them. Starting with a basic acoustic guitar each instrument was added or mixed together by bouncing across to another track, that is until multi track came along and made life a little easier. Another time saver was the use of the Mellotron which allowed them to be able to add strings and brass.

As Brian Carroll remembers, "Our days were pretty hectic with Damon working through the night in one studio on the "Tommy" sessions or with Status Quo and me working in another so it was quite hard to get together. Damon was one of those people who could have made music from any instrument and I'm sure that if he had not spent so much of his life making other people's music sound good he could have gone on to bigger things. When ever we had the spare time I would go and stay at his house in Woking (a town in southern England) where he had a spare bedroom turned into a mini demo studio. We would just kick a few ideas around until we came up with something, put down on tape and then we went back to IBC to lay down the master tracks".

In the seventies an album was released called "Time Is Right" on the President label by a band named "On Way Ticket". This was in fact a mixture of various bands that they have been involved with producing through Homegrown, plus some of their own tracks. The original idea was for it to be an album of just their own material, but even the sleeve notes had to be made up to conceal their identities because of their contract with their publishing company. Now we can put together the album that should have been released with tracks from the Acuff Rose vaults plus some of the demos that were never finished. Perhaps with today's modern technology and with a bit more luck On Way Ticket might have fore-filled (sic) their aims. Like the IBC studios, the Homegrown idea and all those involved with it have faded into the past. But all those who where there still have a common band.
Their love of music.

Alright, so on to the practical issues such as what's this baby sound like?  Well, I have to tell you that I'm quite fond of "Time Is Right".  In spite of the fact producers Damon Lynn Shaw and Brian Carrollmanaged to make several of the bands sound like they were singing at the end of drain pipe, most of the ten performances overcame those technical shortcomings.  The blazing opener 'Time Is Right' set the pace.  Propelled by some stinging guitar from Mackrill, to me the song sounded like something 10 CC would have done had they recorded in the late 1960s. 'Sing Along' and 'Take a Ride' boasted a much more aggressive, yet commercial feel.  This will sound like a weird comparison, but these tracks almost remind me of prime time Slade.  Equally weird, 'Lusty Eyes' recalled T-Rex.   'Everybody's Been' and 'Right or Wrong' got even heavier, sounding like a talented metal band, while 'Fall Out' and 'Outroduction (Lay Me Down)' were glistening top-40 pop.  Personal favorites include the mid-tempo ballad 'Reason Why' (which sported some cool treated vocals) and ' Lusty Eyes'.  The LP is quite rare (it shows up in on of the Hans Pokara books).  As far as I can tell, only 200 copies were printed before the London-based President Records pulled the set from circulation.  (Note that the liner notes get the side two track listing in the wrong sequence.)
- As mentioned above, propelled by some killer slide guitar (the effect actually sounded like Lol Creme and  Kevin Godley's Gizmo guitar effects device), 'Time Is Right' sounded like a mash-up between 10cc and The Yardbirds. Very cool and unique sound.   rating: **** stars
- No idea who handled the lead vocal, but on this rollicking mid-tempo rocker, he  sounded like he was about to cough up a lung.   Come to think of it, this one sounded a bit like a commercial Status Qui number.   rating: *** stars
- 'Take a Ride' was a pounding rocker with some nice Beach Boys harmonies in the background.  Another Status Quo-ish number that was quite commercial.   rating: *** stars
- Featuring heavily treated vocals and glistening acoustic guitars, 'Reason Why' was a cool mid-tempo ballad with a distinctive '60s flavor and stood as one of the album highlights.     rating: **** stars
- A dark, ominous sounding rocker, 'Everybody's Been' didn't sound anything like the earlier side one performances, rather sounded a bit like Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull might have sounded like if they'd decided to record a dark metal album  I'd love to know who handled the glowering vocal on this one.   rating: **** stars
- One of the songs previously recorded for the "Five Day Rain" LP and one of the album's most commercial offerings, ' Fall Out' had a catchy, top-40ish melody and was kicked along by a tasty guitar riff.    rating: **** stars
- With a raw, take-no-prisoners arrangement, 'Right of Wrong' almost sounded like a prototype slice of '70s punk aggression.  rating: *** stars
- As mentioned above, ' Lusty Eyes' sounded like a slice of T-Rex glam rock.  Since I'm a big Marc Bolan fan, I thought this slinky rocker was pretty cool.   rating: **** stars
- ' (Got To Get Some) Money' was another track that had a distinctive '60s vibe. Not the most sophisticated  arrangement on the album, it was still fun.  It was also another track that sounded like it had been recorded in a subway tube.    rating: *** stars
- 'Outroduction (Lay Me Down)' was an interesting way to end the album.  With a bit of a Cream edge, the first part of the song  was a bluesy instrumental rocker that closed out with a touch of electronic noodling.  The track then morphed  into a pretty ballad, showcasing some nice harmony vocals.  Very radio friendly and my only complaint would be the song was simply too short.    rating: *** stars
"Time Is Right" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Time Is Right   (Miller - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 
2.) Sing Along   (Night - Damon Lyon Shaw) -
3.) Take a Ride   (Miller - Brian Carroll - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 2:18
4.) Reason Why   (Rick Sharpe) - 
5.) Everybody's Been   (Preston - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 
(side 2)
1.) Fall Out   (Graham Maitland - Rick Sharpe) - 
2.) Right or Wrong   (Knight - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 
2.) Lusty Eyes   (Carroll - Damon Lyon Shaw) -    
3.) (Got To Get Some) Money   (Carroll - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 2:24
4.) Right or Wrong (instrumental)
5.) Outroduction (Lay Me Down)   (Carroll - Damon Lyon Shaw) - 

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