Beginnings 1969

Fontana Records STL 5492

"Stand by, they said, for a new group that'll really blow your mind. No kidding, they said, these boys are different. Wait till you hear them, they said, then you'll know what it really means to flip.

Oh yeah? said I. I've heard that sort of flannel before. About a million times before. And the number of actual flips have been few and far between. Well, don't believe us then they said petulantly. Just listen to the tapes, they said.

I listened. And flipped. Nobody twisted my arm - I voluntarily and totally flipped.

Ambrose Slade is a new group. Well, new in the sense that their name was only recently dreamed up for them by recording manager Jack Baverstock. They were originally The In-Betweens and they built their reputation round the Wolverhampton area and in Continental centres, notably Germany and Spain. But the name In-Betweens was a bit misleading ...Ambrose Slade is more forthright, more trendy, more direct.

The boys, and there are four of them, are anyway in between nothing. They're uncompromising in their musical approach. They go for, and get, a hard driving, tough, ruthless almost, rock sound that can hardly be bettered for sheer tenacity and power.

Their reputation for laying on real excitement spreads almost every week. They've hit the London Club Scene as hard as they've hit other places, like Scotland, or the West Country and the London Club Scene, still recovering from the impact, is generally pretty hard to impress..."
Peter Jones
The sleeve notes are a little dramatic but I think the enthusiasm was warranted. It's important to remember that this was released on May 9th 1969. Alongside the albums being released at the time this must have sounded pretty exciting.

Four tracks from the album were written by the group, Roach Daddy (a year before The Beatles - For You Blue was released) and Pity The Mother are full vocal songs while the other two are instrumental. Genesis was released as the one and only Ambrose Slade 7" and would later be re-written as Know Who You Are. The other instrumental is Mad Dog Cole, which was also the bands nickname for Roger Allen.  Allen believed in the band and thought London was where they'd get the break they needed. The tracks were recorded by Irving Martin in late 1968, commissioned by Roger Allen, and presented to Jack Baverstock. Apparently, he was very impressed with what he heard, in particular one of the instrumentals. It is not known what happened to the 'demo recordings' but Martin always believed they were used on the album although he never received any credit.

Officially, Baverstock invited The 'N Betweens down to London forstudio audition. In December 1968, they spent the day in the Phillips Studio at Stanhope Place in London with studio engineer, Roger Wake, where they recorded four songs. They returned to the studio on 1st and 2nd of January 1969 and put another eight(?) tracks down on tape which were all taken from their stage act.
"I done all the tracks for 'Beginnings'. The group knew exactly what they wanted to do. I helped them set up and they put it down while I recorded them."
There goes Irving Martin's demo tape theory then?
"I was only twenty one at the time, Jack (Baverstock) didn't want anything to do with the recording session, I don't know why, he was normally present at sessions, but he told me to let them get on with it and assist them when they needed it and record them. They didn't really need it but we had a lot of fun doing the album, I got on well with them."

Roger Wake's copy of the Beginnings master made at the height of the bands success..

Although I think it's safe to assume that the group must have been generally 'over the moon' with how their recorded material sounded, I'll take a comfortable bet that Noddy rues the day he let the tape capture his rendition of Marvin Gaye's If This World Were Mine. Since the track is a beautiful ballad with restrained and sparse musical backing, Holder's cringe inducing, off-key moments cannot be missed even by the most casual listener. Of course, the bands 'studio audition' was not only successful, Jack Baverstock announced with great gusto "I like it, we're releasing it!" and nobody thought to leave the dodgy track off?

The rest of the album consists of more cover numbers. These include two Steppenwolf numbers, Everybody's Next One and, the track that the group would make their own, Born To Be Wild.

Knocking Nails Into My House is an Idle Race number penned by Brummie Jeff Lynne who would later form ELO.

In a great show of diversity they include sterling covers of Frank Zappa's callous, Ain't Got No Heart and The Moody Blues light and fluffy Fly Me High, culled from their drug-fuelled Days Of Future Passed album which spawned Nights In White Satin, also in Ambrose Slade's repertoire. Their version featured Jim Lea on the violin which he uses to great effect here on both Pity The Mother and the Lennon & McCartney number, Martha My Dear. According to the book 'A Hard Day's Night' this sorrwful paean, was written for McCartney's inner muse, after which he later named his sheepdog. It is taken from The Beatles 'White' album which had only been released in November 1968 and was therefore a very brave inclusion. It may also explain why Paul McCartney was seen around the record company at the time?

The album closer is yet another shocker. The title track from The Amboy Dukes album, Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind was a classic example of acid rock. For example, the original album cover depicted fifty different kinds of marijuana-smoking devices. Ted Nugent was reputedly, very displeased when confronted with the cover of this album, that shows an avalanche of weed-smoking gear, as he professes never to have smoked a single joint in whole his life.

All in all, this was quite an album in 1969 and a far cry from the affable collection of dated pop music many assume it to be. I guess, since Psychadelia was a short lived era, the group were just a little late to catch the break needed to have this album make an impact but then that's the difference between 'groundbreaking original' and 'commendable imitation'. Fontana Records released Beginnings on May 9th 1969 but Ambrose Slade was not yet ready to take on the world but their time would come and it would come sooner rather than later.


  • Genesis
  • Everybody's Next One
  • Knocking Nails Into My House
  • Roach Daddy
  • Ain't Got No Heart
  • Pity The Mother
  • Mad Dog Cole
  • Fly Me High
  • If This World Were Mine
  • Martha My Dear
  • Born To Be Wild
  • Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind


More information on album authenticity can be found here.

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An authentic copy of Beginnings recently (28 Jul, 2016) sold for over £2000 on Ebay





Everybody's Next One
(John Kay and Gabriel Mekler)


She's all alone, just lost another one
Met him yesterday and he's already gone
And though tonight she'll swear it was the last time
A smiling face will come that knows the right line
And then she'll do all the right things with the wrong guy
And when he's gone, next day she'll sit and wonder why


She doesn't know why she's everybody's next one
'Cause she's afraid that the truth is gonna hurt some
All the pity in the world ain't gonna help none
She has to realize that to keep one, her ways have to change some


She tries too hard and she comes on too strong
Digs herself too much and thinks she can't be wrong
She's too impressed by things that do not matter
To be the Queen of hearts is what she's after.
And then she'll do all the right things with the wrong guy
And when he's gone, next day she'll sit and wonder why


She doesn't know why she's everybody's next one
'Cause she's afraid that the truth is gonna hurt some
All the pity in the world ain't gonna help none
She has to realize that to keep one, her ways have to change some


Repeat


© MCA Music (BMI)


Knocking Nails Into My House
(Jeff Lynne)

This house is mine but the men they say it's not

You see this house is the only place I've got
Running round they work so hard and fast
But they don't know my house is built to last


Here comes a man, in a van
He's looking very angry at me


They're knocking nails into walls, hoho, my walls
They run and hide as the only ceiling falls
Glee for leave they gather in my shed
They gone for now so I can ease my head


They're knocking nails into my house
They're knocking nails into my house
They work so hard, all it's left is my sunroof
There goes a wall, oh I think I spoke too soon


They're knocking nails into my house
They're knocking nails into my house
They're knocking nails into my house
Look out!


© EMI Songs


Roach Daddy
(Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea & Don Powell)


Whatever the roach daddy
Whatever the roach daddy
Let's take this time daddy
Whatever the roach daddy
Daddy's getting high
Tied to the fly
Daddy


Der der-der der der der-der
Der der-der der der der-der
Der der-der der der der-der
Der der-der der der der-der


Oh that's nice


Get yourself together daddy
Get yourself together daddy
Let's take this time daddy
Get yourself together daddy
Pauses at the door
There's nowhere to crawl
Daddy


© Intersong Music


Ain't Got No Heart
(Frank Zappa)


Ain't got no heart
I ain't got no heart to give away


I said about those fools in love
There ain't no such thing as love
No angels singing up above today


Girl I don't believe
Girl I don't believe in what you say


I say you, you must be mine
I say you, you must be blind
What makes you think that you're so fine?


That I should throw away
The groovy life I lead
Baby what you got yeah
Sure ain't what I need


Girl you better
Girl you better go away


I said that life with you must be
Just not quite the thing for me
Why is it hard to see my way?


Why should I be stuck with you?
It's just not what I want to do
Why should an embrace or two
Make me such a part of you?
I ain't got no heart to give away


© The International Music Network


Pity The Mother
(Noddy Holder & Jim Lea)


She's left to rear a child because of war
Sadly alone
Works hard to clothe and feed her little son
Give him a home


She works all night into the early morn
Streets cold and damp
Stands at the corner near the Pig and Gun
Lit by a lamp


She has to work hard to scrimp and save
Or he will go
Go to a home somewhere far away
She loves him so


Tired but she knows that it's the only way
She wanders home
Home to the child that's sleeping sound and warm
Never a moan


© Carlin Music


Fly Me High
(Justin Hayward)

I'm up to the eyes n' I love everyone
Today I could cry I could reach for the sun
I'm walking on air 'n' I'm here 'n' I'm there
I travel the sky but for what I don't care


Fly me straight and fly me high
Fly me straight and fly me high


I'm up 'n' I'm down 'n' I'm gone, I'm around
I'm driving along with no wheels on the ground
Hang on to me tight 'cause it doesn't last long
A few hours more and it'll be gone


Fly me straight and fly me high
Fly me straight and fly me high


I leave you behind on the streets in the gloom
I'm up here alone and there's plenty of room
You won't see me, I'll see you, I'm too fast
Whoops! Here I come, Now I'm gone. Now I'm past


Fly me straight and fly me high
Fly me straight and fly me high


I'm up to the eyes and I love ev'ryone
Today I could cry I could reach for the sun
I'm walking on air 'n' I'm here 'n' I'm there
I travel the sky but for what I don't care


Fly me straight and fly me high
Fly me straight and fly me high


© Tyler Music


If This World Were Mine
(Marvin Gaye)


If this world were mine
I would place at your feet
All that I own
You've been so good to me


If this world were mine
I'd give you the flowers
The birds and the bees
And with your love inside me
It would be all I'd need


If this world were mine
I'd give you anything


If this world were mine
I would make you a queen
With wealth untold
You could have anything


If this world were mine
I'd give you each day
So sunny and blue
If you wanted the moonlight
I'd give you that too


If this world were mine
I'd give you anything


Oh baby you're my consolation
And there's no hesitation
When you want me
Baby just call me


Oh you are my inspiration
I feel so much sensation
When you're in my arms
When you're near me
The sky would be blue
Long as you're loving me


When you're here in my arms
Life is so wonderful


Gimme pretty loving baby
Gimme pretty loving honey
Keep on loving me


You know I need you baby
I really really need you honey
Keep on loving me


© Jobette Music


Martha My Dear
(John Lennon & Paul McCartney)


Martha my dear
Though I spend my days in conversation please
Remember me
Martha my love
Don't forget me
Martha my dear


Hold your head up you silly girl
Look what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl


Take a good look around you
Take a good look you're bound to see
That you and me
Were meant to be
For each other
Silly girl


Hold your hand out you silly girl
See what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl


Martha my dear
You have always been my inspiration please
Be good to me
Martha my love
Don't forget me
Martha my dear


© Sony/ATV Music


Born To Be Wild
(Mars Bonfire)


Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space


I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space


Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die


Born to be wild
Born to be wild


© MCA Music (BMI)


Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind
(Ted Nugent & Steve Farmer)


Leave your cares behind
Come with us and find
The pleasures of the journey to the centre of your mind


Come along if you care
Come along if you dare
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind


Beyond the seas of heart
Beyond the realm of want
Across the streams of hopes and dreams where things are really not


Come along if you care
Come along if you dare
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind


You must please realise
You'll probably be surprised
For it's a land unknown to man
Where fantasy is fact


So if you can please understand
You might not come back


Come along if you care
Come along if you dare
Take a ride to the land inside and you'll see


How happy life can be
If all of mankind
Would take the time to journey to the centre of your mind
Centre of your mind,
Your mind, Your mind, Your mind...


© Brent Music

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