JACKIE FOUNTAINS - Same LP (Feathered Apple FA 6505) with photo packed 4 page insert
This historical release is due in no small part to the valiant efforts of Swiss beat maniac Rolf R. and his Feathered Apple imprint, which has established contact with surviving members of The Jackie Fountains, and their manager Peter Warmling, to get the whole group scoop. Pulling in unreleased material, together with three of the four single sides the group made back in 1966 for the incredibly rare Dollar label (home to The Madmen’s Alfred E Goes Surfing) and a few tracks (also recorded during 1966) released on a hideously rare 1969 LP -- Spex and Pengar, also on Dollar, which the group shared with an eccentric spoken word artist M. Swingberg - has resulted in one of the most pleasing releases in the sixties beat canon.
The unreleased cuts are taken mostly from the days when they were cutting it as an rnb outfit, having shed their Shadows and Spotnicks fixation. A live n wild recording of The Snobs Buckle Shoe Stomp and a powerful harp-wailin’ romp through Vince Taylor’s oft-covered Brand New Cadillac are included; the former somewhat lacking in hi-fidelity but more than making up for it in attitude and stomp, while the latter is one of the very best versions I've heard of this song.
The Jackie Fountains also have more than a touch of Chuck Berry-itis too delivering a rousing Bye Bye Johnny and a splendidly executed I’m Talking About You. A brave shot at The Animals name-dropping party swinger Club-A-Go-Go and a late-night melancholic offering, Sentimental Blues, also makes for a very enjoyable listen. Although these are all pretty damn cool in themselves, The Jackie Fountains really come into their own when they choose to perform their own material. You Better Look Around from their debut single shows them more than capable of standing up to their beat peers with a low-key but wonderfully effective number complete with yearning lead vocal. This and Listen Girl, a fabulous garage-edged folk-rocker culled from the Spex and Pengar outing feature some nice 12-string picking and more impassioned vocalising from Bob Yell, one of two non-Swedes in the group; both he and Mimi Matisic (piano) coming originally from Yugoslavia, where they were members of The Lonely Ones. The jazz-tinged Love Time and Your Love (especially) are also deserving of our attention with scuds of rumbling bass, to-the-point drums and plenty of six-string action from group mainstay Hasse Warmling.
Few people out there will know that Hasse was responsible for co-writing The Stranglers early 80s hit Strange Little Girl. He and Hugh Cornwell (then in Sweden) used to play together in Jonny Sax during the mid 1970s, but when the group moved over to England they changed their name to The Guildford Stranglers, then just dropped the Guildford prefix. Hasse didn't think anything was gonna happen with the group so he moved back to Sweden before the group took off, and the rest as they say is history.
The LP packaging sports classic garage-beat imagery, utilising a simple black front with an ultra cool and moody shot of the group taken in late 1965, topped off with Jackie Fountains in gold lettering. It could even be the latest volume in the Diggin’ For Gold series of top class beat LPs. There are heaps of great photos, original newspaper clippings and information like the above included in the gatefold insert, not to mention some sterling beat and rnb raunch contained in the grooves. Feathered Apple have produced a great record here, one you really ought to seek out before it slips away and you regret not buying it when it was available. Definitely for fans of The Downliners Sect, Namelosers, Dee Jays, Shanes etc.
Lenny Helsing, Shindig magazine, April 2004
The Jackie Fountains were an obscure beat group from a small rural town in Sweden. They released two singles for the tiny Dollar label in 1966, and several more tracks from 1965 to 1966 also appeared on an oddball spoken word album by a farmer named M. Swingberg, which was released by Dollar in 1969 and, needless to say, sold very few copies.
Now Feathered Apple have rescued the group from obscurity with this LP, collecting most of the above-mentioned tracks (one B-side excepted) plus previously unreleased live and demo recordings. Fans of mid-60s Euro-beat will not be disappointed. The band’s first single, You Better Look Around is a mournful beat number decorated with some stirring 12-string guitar. Listen Girl (from the Swingberg LP) is another excellent number, with a slow swaying rhythm and a revolving guitar riff, while Your Love kicks up the energy level with a wild double-time break. Why Did You Leave Me, another original composition, is a snotty, harp wailing rnb mover, and they also beat out smashing renditions of Buckle Shoe Stomp (live in very raw fidelity), I’m Talking About You and Brand New Cadillac. The album signs off on a surprisingly smooth and melodic note with Bad Girl, a lovely commercial pop song, complete with Bacharach-style horns, it would’ve been perfect for somebody like Dave Berry, circa 1966.
The Jackie Fountains broke up in 1967, but several years later lead guitarist Hasse Warmling was in an early line-up of the Stranglers. He left the group before they became successful, but they held on to a song he had co-written with Hugh Cornwell, Strange Little Girl, the music of which dated back to Warmling’s Jackie Fountains days. The Stranglers demoed the song with Warmling as early as 1974 (it can be heard on the Early Years Rare And Unreleased 1974-76 CD, and it’s wonderful), but it was not until 1982 that they re-recorded it and it became one of their biggest hits.
Feathered Apple have put together a very strong package here, with extensive liner notes by Peter Warmling (Hasse’s brother and the group’s manager) and a glossy insert loaded with old press clippings and set lists. A CD edition with additional tracks is in the works.
Mike Stax, Ugly Things issue number 22, December 2004)