Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Tin Tin, finally...

We've done Friends, Skyband and The Fut. Now I'm finally getting around to the central part of the "golden age" of Steve Kipner's early career.

This is all prompted by the fact that someone is finally planning on doing CD reissues of this period (see previous post). As such, I'm posting fewer tracks than usual.

So, before Friends and Skyband but after breaking up his band Steve & The Board, Steve Kipner teamed up with one Steve Groves. Initially they released a single and a self-titled album as Steve & Stevie which came out in 1968. It's (as far as I can tell) on the rare side: a lot of people who know Tin Tin don't know it, and I still haven't found a copy, though I now (finally) have a couple of mp3s. Pending permission from the guy who sent them to me, I'll post one of them. From what I've heard, it's pretty high quality Beatles/Bee Gees inspired late 60's pop, as is much (most) of Steve Groves'/Steve Kipner's work from this period. Cover photo is here.

Following Steve & Stevie the two Steves formed Tin Tin (I have no info on an intermediate group called Rombo's World...anyone?). Their first album, Tin Tin, was recorded with a fair amount of help from Maurice Gibb, who's credited as producer and as a player on five tracks.

There's a Bee Gees-like tendency to overemphasize ballads at the expense of pacing, and as with early Bee Gees, the upbeat Tin Tin songs make me want to hear more in that vein. Otherwise, though, this is a "lost" "British" "late 60's" classic. Quotes due to the fact that it's finally going to come out on CD, it's recorded by a gang of Australians, and the release date is 1970.

The big hit, which has been anthologized, is Toast and Marmalade For Tea, which honestly isn't one of my favorite tracks. Here's a relatively faithful cover by The Liquor Giants that preserves the original track's distinctive wavery sound. Interesting question for the lawyers to sort out: on the Tin Tin album, the track is credited to Steve Groves alone, but the liner notes to Kipner's later Friends album call him a co-writer. Hmmmm.

More interesting to me is the weird two-track combo titled Flag/Put Your Money On My Dog. Foes of retro rock instrumentals should be patient through the Flag part, as the song switches into a great Revolver-style song after the longish intro. They could really do the Beatles when the mood struck. Like almost dead on.

Another favorite is the rhythmically interesting He Wants To Be A Star, with Maurice Gibb on bass and piano. Reminds me a lot of the Bee Gees' demo Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator, which also kind of lurches from part to part.

There's a hint or two of outside influences in tracks like the Moody Blues-ish She Said Ride or the vaguely southern rock Come On Over Again (added to the US release of the album). On the whole, though, it's strongly recommended to anyone who's looking for more things that sound like c. 1967/68 Beatles/Bee Gees (especially the latter), and of a similar quality. Not easy to find, actually, though any number of people have tried.

This site lists a number of unreleased Tin Tin outtakes. I've got my fingers crossed that someone, someday, will put them out. The recording info on these tracks comes from RSO tape library records.

More on the 2nd Tin Tin album and subsequent singles in a day or two.

Toast and Marmalade For Tea by The Liquor Giants
Flag & Put Your Money On My Dog by Tin Tin
He Wants To Be A Star by Tin Tin

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