Ken Woodman

That's Nice

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Ken Woodman's rare 1966 album was a peculiar combination of old-fashioned jazz, martial brass and drums, and Swinging London pop-jazz. A big arsenal was assembled to produce this slightly bombastic sound, including two saxes, two trombones, three trumpets, two guitars, drums, and bass, with Kenny Salmon's Hammond organ the instrument most responsible for giving it any pop/rock crossover feel it possessed. Woodman also covered a few then-recent rock hits on the LP, including "Day Tripper," the Sorrows' "Take a Heart," Neil Christian's "That's Nice," Sandie Shaw's "Long Live Love," and Chris Andrews' "Yesterday Man" (the last three of which he'd arranged in their original incarnations). "That's Nice" and "Take a Heart" were written by Miki Dallon, the house producer and songwriter for the independent Strike label that issued this LP, so it was no surprise that another Dallon composition, "Cheat and Lie," landed on the album too. Woodman's covers of rock songs were a little corny and contrived, and actually the highlights of the record came from outside that repertoire. His own "Mexican Flyer" was the definite highlight, with a sinister and snazzy spy thriller bent, and some of that suspenseful atmosphere spilled over to the bluesier buildup in "Twelve by Two." It was the far more determinedly peppy "Town Talk," however, that would become the most famous cut via its use as a theme on British radio, and that song did have some fairly uninhibited brass soloing and forceful Hammond organ. The entire album has been reissued, paired with Woodman's 1969 LP, The Kenny Woodman Sound, on RPM's Town Talk! CD, which reproduces the LP's quite risqué (for 1966) original sleeve of a woman's buttocks in the liner notes.