Here's an album of BBC sessions by a British band that I'll bet you've never even heard of. (If you have, my hat is off to you.) This band, the Montanas, may be super obscure, but that's not for lack of quality. In my opinion, much of the music from the late 1960s has a magical quality to it. It was a special time, when even many obscure bands put out really good music.
The Montanas were a rock band, but very much on the poppy side, similar to say, the Hollies. They should have had some significant hits. There are a handful of songs here that definitely sound as good or better than many of the hits of the era. But musical success is a fickle thing, and sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. They only had one minor hit, but in the US, not Britain. "You've Got to Be Loved" was released in 1967, and scraped the bottom of the Top Forty charts.
As I said, they should have done better. For instance, some of their early songs were written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, the songwriting team responsible for most of Petula Clark's big hits in the 1960s, including the classic "Downtown." Also, "That's When Happiness Began" was written by the Addrisi Brothers, who also wrote "Never My Love" by the Association. But unlike that ballad, this song is a freakbeat rocker that should have been a hit. On the downside though, the band didn't seem to write much music themselves, which could help explain why they aren't held in better regard today. Also, despite having a long string of singles, they never were allowed to record a full album.
Here's their Wikipedia entry, if you want to know more about them:
The Montanas - Wikipedia
Now, getting to the music on this album, as you can guess from the title, it consists entirely of BBC performances. Only four of the performances have been officially released, and those come from the obscure various artists album "Sights and Sounds, Volume 1." But all of those songs here have great sound quality, since they all come from Top of the Pops transcription discs. By the way, thanks to musical associate Marley for digging up most of this.
The band continued into the early 1970s, but their best stuff, and most successful (given their obscurity) is from the late 1960s. That's when they had enough potential to be featured on popular BBC shows, so everything here is from that time. But that works out well, because this serves as an excellent "best of." Not only does it contain versions of their best A-sides, it includes cover versions that they never officially released in any form, such as "Hey Grandma" and "Omaha" (both originally by Moby Grape), "Bend Me, Shape Me" by the Outsiders (and a hit by the American Breed), and "Beggin'" by the Four Seasons.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that these songs suffered from the usual BBC problem of the time where the DJs often talked over the music. But, as usual, I used the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe out the talking while keeping the music. Those are the songs with "[Edit]" in their names. Sadly, that was the case for 12 of the 15 songs!
These are some really obscure recordings. I strongly suspect that nobody has ever compiled an album of their BBC material until I did this, here. But it deserves better, much better. These guys were a cut above most other similar bands. If you like this type of music, I strongly encourage you to give this a try. And by the way, if you do like this, these is a good official release of their studio material called "You've Got to Be Loved: Singles A's and Bs" that's worth tracking down.
This album is 38 minutes long.
01 That’s When Happiness Began (Montanas)
02 Goodbye Little Girl [Edit] (Montanas)
03 What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am [Edit] (Montanas)
04 Ciao Baby [Edit] (Montanas)
05 Living Above Your Head [Edit] (Montanas)
06 Take My Hand [Edit] (Montanas)
07 Top Hat [Edit] (Montanas)
08 Hey Grandma [Edit] (Montanas)
09 You've Gotta Be Loved (Montanas)
10 Bend Me, Shape Me [Edit] (Montanas)
11 A Step in the Right Direction [Edit] (Montanas)
12 You're Never Going to Get My Lovin' [Edit] (Montanas)
13 Beggin' [Edit] (Montanas)
14 Omaha [Edit] (Montanas)
15 Run to Me (Montanas)
The Montanas are such an obscure band that I could only find one color photo of them. It's from 1966, back when they still had a square image and wore suits. Not surprisingly, they went psychedelic with their style in 1967, like most other bands. But this photo will have to do unless a better later one comes along. Also, I took the band name at the top from a cover to one of their singles.