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Possibly 14 tracks, 1964 (unreleased)
Many tracks were recorded (April 1964) but not mastered at the time.

The Album That Never Was (1964)

In 1960 EMI were doing well with their artists right across the range of labels they owned: Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Adam Faith, et al.  The unexpected success of "Shakin' All Over" truly heralded the arrival of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates on the Pop Scene.  Record companies usually wanted to cash in on a newly-popular artist before the star quality begins to fade.  In Kidd's case, an EP was put out containing the three most recent hits up to and including "Restless", plus one b-side - but no album.

1963 was the year that Johnny and his crew bounced back into the UK top ten after a three-year absence.  After the (albeit minor) success of the previous years' "A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues" HMV withheld "Some Other Guy", a potentially great follow-up.  In the face of the tidal wave of groups and record releases, his own momentum lost a disgruntled Johnny probably thought If he couldn't beat 'em he'd join 'em.  Influenced by the Beatles, "I'll Never Get Over You" was justifiably the hit it deserved to be and its follow-up "Hungry For Love" reached no. 20 in its wake.  The group's increased sales indicated the time was probably right for HMV to release Kidd's debut album to cash in if nothing else.

About this time ex-Redcap organist Vic Cooper, a good friend of Spence and Farley's was recruited from Cuddly Duddly.  The new quintet returned to Abbey Road on April 6/7 1964 where they recorded eleven masters, presumably with the intention of recording the long-awaited debut album.  These included new readings of "Let's Talk About Us," "Big Blon' Baby" and "Please Don't Touch," rearranged to capture a contemporary edge.  "I believe my first record was similar to today's Liverpool sound," the singer once stated, which may explain the logic behind these re-creations.  Indeed the new, slower, beat version of "Please Don't Touch" was superb, buoyed considerably by Green's quite startling solo.




06/04/64 Whole Lotta Woman TL26014
06/04/64 Your Cheatin’ Heart TL21365
06/04/64 Let’s Talk About Us (version 2) TL52279-2T
06/04/64 A Little Bit Of Soap E52269Z
06/04/64 The Fool (version 2) E52270-2T
06/04/64 Oh Boy E52269Z
06/04/64 Send Me Some Lovin’ E52270-2T
06/04/64 Big Blon’ Baby (version 2) E52271-2T
07/04/64 Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-Yo E52271-2T
07/04/64 Shop Around TL26604
07/04/64 Please Don’t Touch (version 2) E52272Z

The other songs cut during this frenetic period included Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy," Sandford Clark's "The Fool," (a different recording of which made the B-side of "Send For That Girl" in 1966), Little Richard's "Send Me Some Lovin'" and a knockabout version of "The Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo".  This last track appeared on "Rarities with a slight timing mistake and some studio chatter relating to it tacked on the start.  A stereo version on the "Complete" double CD collection in 1992 turned out to be a completely different take, probably the one that would have made the "Lost Album".  "A Little Bit Of Soap" surfaced in the incomplete form it was left in at the time and that’s how it appeared on 1983’s "Rarities."  The original instructions for editing a finished master were eventually carried out in 1992 and it debuted on the "Complete" CD.

pirates4a.gif (38291 bytes)The debut album project was cancelled around the time it was realised "Always And Ever" was not going to deliver the sales to warrant an accompanying LP.  In the early 1960's the record companies demanded their product must have a market to sell it to.  Thus in 1964 (as before) the charts were critical in making or breaking many a good group and a sizeable hit would release the companies' coffers enough for an album.  That HMV held back recording these tracks in the first place probably due to the lack of recording time didn't help matters.  1963 was a busy time for EMI after all with anything that wasn't already Merseybeat nevertheless jumping on the popular bandwagon anyway.  The bulk of these recordings remained unreleased until unearthed for historical packages in 1983 and 1990.  "Shop Around" actually emerged on the B-side of the group's next single, "Jealous Girl."  Wanting to regain credibility (and sales) in the successful wake of the Rolling Stones et al probably led to "Whole Lotta Woman" / "Your Cheatin' Heart" being rescued from the vaults for the group's last single of 1964.  However Kidd was left hopelessly playing catch-up with the now widespread R 'n' B boom in the UK that he and his Pirates helped to initialise.

In 1966, and with the "New" Pirates in tow, Kidd seemed rejuvenated and was positive about the future.  At this juncture in the 1960's the albumm was slowly beginning to be seen as something a little different to the venerable single, although it would be another year before groups like the Pretty Things ("S. F. Sorrow") and The Who ("The Who Sell Out") began to make the album its own.  Again, it seems EMI were talking about a projected album, this time showcasing Gene Vincent songs selected by Kidd himself.  Sadly, this came to nothing with Kidd's untimely death in October of that year, no recordings are known to have been put down.  It would have been fascinating.

STOP PRESS 2006:  Ten rare tracks appeared on Apple iTunes site, accredited to Johnny Kidd and the Pirates under the title "Blues Masters: A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues".  Having heard them, they are in good nick but only two - "Whole Lotta Woman" and "She's The Only One you Love" - have Johnny Kidd on them by the sound of it.  The former appears to be a different take of the single and the latter has the same sound and feel as the 1964 aborted album recordings per se.  Mick Green sounds like the guitarist.  The remainder sound to have been recorded on 4-track, and treated to a more modern stereo re-mixing.  All sound like Pirates' tracks with Johnny Spence on vocal duties.  "My Babe" and "Castin' My Spell" are 4-track re-makes of the Pirates single from early 1964 where the guitarist seems to be Mick Green once again but Vic Cooper is noticeable by his absence anywhere in the mix, making dating this pair difficult.  John Weider appears to be the guitar man on the rest, which appear to be an assortment of run throughs, demos and session warm-ups for balancing etc.  It would be fascinating if Jon Morshead was responsible for one or two....

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates had charted at least one single each year from 1959 to early 1964 clocking up four top twenty hits (including a no. 1) along the way.  Only three singles had missed the charts entirely.  Its still a bit puzzling then why Kidd had seemingly been granted a debut album only by early 1964.  Over the next two years, Columbia signing the Downliners Sect released three albums - one every eight months.  This was a group who never registered a top fifty hit and in just four years time groups would emerge specialising in albums rather than a dependency on the top 50.

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