“Gimme Reggae”: UK Pop Reggae 1969

How fascinating to learn that Blue Mink was an early champion of the “new reggae” sound (albeit one increasingly augmented by strings) that was starting to show commercial potential in the UK as the 1960s gave way to the 70s.

“Gimme Reggae”    Blue Mink

“Don’t call me Yank!” demands Madeline Bell on this track from Blue Mink’s debut album, Melting Pot – an LP that curiously was released in the US first (1969), then the UK (1970).

According to Discogs.com, “Gimme Reggae” was the A-side of a single release (with “Gidda Wadda Wobble” as the flip side) in 1970 – but for the Austrian market only!  Otherwise, “Gimme Reggae” did not enjoy single release in the UK & Germany until 1975 after the original group had decided to disband.

German Single – 1975

Blue Mink Reggae B-Side aWorth pointing out that the American version of Melting Pot excludes “Gimme Reggae”

“Wacky Wacky Wacky”: And Yet Lacks Wack

Blue Mink is a British musical group that enjoyed 6 Top 20 hits in the UK from 1969-1973 but only one chart appearance (“Our World” #64) here in the US.  I had assumed from the appearance of their #9 UK hit “Randy” on K-Tel 1973 hits album, Fantastic 22 Original Hits 22 Original Stars, that maybe this winsome Wings-like pop rocker had enjoyed some American radio airplay, but the song – I’m surprised to learn – failed to chart here.  K-Tel's Fantastic 22 Original Hits LPEMI would issue “Randy” as a single in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain & New Zealand — but not in the Americas.  K-Tel, therefore, would be the sole American distributor for this one particular Blue Mink track, “Randy.”

K-Tel’s version (it defies belief) is actually a shortened version of the song that fades out ever so tantalizingly around the 2-minute mark, just as twin guitars take joyously to flight — my American ears are still adjusting to the “extended” instrumental solo & other final bits:

Blue Mink comprised top-tier London studio musicians – Roger Coulam (keyboards), Madeline Bell (vox), Herbie Flowers (bass), Alan Parker (guitar) & Barry Morgan (drums).  Vocalist Roger Cook wrote the group’s songs with Roger Greenaway.

The previous year Blue Mink had released a single “Wacky Wacky Wacky” that was surprisingly restrained for a song that all but advertised hilarity and hijinks.  This 1972 UK television appearance is the only form in which this overlooked single resides on YouTube:

Blue Mink:  Active Supporter of Independent UK Radio

Blue Mink performed the jingle (written by Cook/Greenaway – arranged by George Martin) for early UK independent – Capital Radio – who first went on the air October 16, 1973 with (1) the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”; followed by (2) a message from station director, Richard Attenborough; (3) then Blue Mink’s Capital Radio jingle; followed by (4) Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” [Capital Radio’s first commercial was for Bird’s Eye fish fingers].

German 45

Blue Mink German 45 sleeve