Sunday, February 7, 2010

Great 60's LP's: Them-Them Again


Them live May '66 @ the Whiskey A-Go-Go L.A., CA

THEM-Them Again U.K. Decca LK 4751 1966

SIDE ONE:

1. Could You, Would You

2. Something you Got Baby

3. Call My Name

4. Turn On Your Lovelight

5. I Put A Spell On You

6. I Can Only Give you Everything

7. My Lonely Sad Eyes

8. I Got A Woman

SIDE TWO:

1. Out Of Sight

2. It's All Over Now Baby Blue

3. Bad Or Good

4. How Long Baby

5. Hello Josephine

6. Don't You Know

7. Hey Girl

8. Bring 'Em On In

January 1966 saw the eighth line-up of British based Irish r'n'b act Them. It would rival the "Rock N' Roll Family Tree" book to try to chart who was in the band at this point so we'll suffice to say for those who've been in solitary confinement since 1964 that the band were led by one Van Morrison. The first month of 1966 also saw the release of the band's second LP, which would also be their last as they disintegrated after a U.S. tour that summer (see above photo from their three week long residency at Los Angele's famed Whiskey A- Go-Go).

"Them Again" is an interesting album as it was recorded with various personnel changes (and a number of sessions musicians including, it's alleged, Jimmy Page) and produced by U.K. artist/producer Tommy Scott . It's schizophrenic at best as it follows a variety of genres. Out of it's sixteen tracks only four are Van Morrison originals. The LP opens with Van's impressive tremolo guitar laced "Could You, Would You" and features probably his best vocal work ever, easily my favorite Them song. The guitar sounds ever so similar to "Here Comes The Night" (also see/hear the LP's "It Won't Hurt Half As Much"). Chris Kenner's "Something You Got" is next, fueled by some very tasty sax. Tommy Scott's "Call My Name" is next. The number is classic Them with mid tempo moodiness. It was later covered in August with good effect by the band's former Belfast comrades, The Wheels, who were also U.K. based by this point as the flip to their final 45, a cover of Paul Revere and The Raiders "Kicks" (Columbia DB 7918). A semi-spirited version of "Turn On Your Lovelight" is next. Listening to it you can easily imagine how this became an extended gig closer in the band's live set, but in the studio it is a tad restrained. Screamin' Jay Hawkin's "I Put A Spell On You" is next. Van and Co. turn it into a moody jazz piece with some scat vocals dueling with some mellow sax. Tommy Scott's fuzz guitar/Farfisa organ driven proto-garage anthem "I Can Only Give You Everything" is next. Killer stuff, the number began as a Beatstalker's instrumental "Bass Line" (Decca F 12460) written by Scott and lyrics were later added by one Bill Martin to become the number we're all familiar with today. Listen for the bass player plonking in the wrong key at around 2:02 into the number! Van's poignant "My Lonely Sad Eyes" follows with the LP's trademark vibrato/tremolo (albeit muted) guitar and some nifty acoustic guitar. Ray Charle's "I Got A Woman" is pointlessly boring. Merely filler.

Side Two opens with an equally useless soul cover, this one being James Brown's "Out Of Sight", next. Them's version of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" turned a generation of American garage bands onto Dylan (San Jose's Chocolate Watchband took note and recorded a carbon copy version) and one listen to the atmospheric quality of it shows how Van and the boys made it their own. Van's original "Bad Or Good' is a rollicking mid tempo call and response track that recalls The Impressions at their most uptempo. "How Long Baby" is a slower number with a tasty combo organ riff backed up by some subtle ivory tinkling, Van's impassioned vocals and a blistering tremolo guitar solo. Bert Bern's ballad "(It Won't Hurt) Half As Much" (originally cut by Garnett Mimms) is next, bearing more than an uncanny similarity to Bern's "Here Comes The Night" previously released by the band as a 45 (Decca F 12094 March 1965), a slower number with an almost honky tonk feel. work . Fats Domino's "Hello Josephine" is next, instead of a mediocre version you'd expect it's helped out by a gritty little guitar solo over some bar room ivory tinkling. Tommy Scott's piano/flute lead jazzy masterpiece "Don't You Know" is next with classy results. The number further cemented the Wheels/Them connection as the former had recorded the version the previous year in September as the flipside to their version of "Gloria" (Columbia DB 7682). The flute crops again on's Van's brilliant "Hey Girl" that seems to anticipate the soulful singer/songwriter he'd soon be on the way to becoming. However this track is stellar without a trace of self indulgence. The album closes with Van's "Bring 'Em On In", a rocking number that would've no doubt made a good show closer as it can easily be imagined having room for "improvisation" at 3:42 long with punchy delivery and more scat/sax solo stuff!


The LP tanked, which no doubt had some small effect on Van's growing disenchanment with the group and it's management. All of it's tracks have been included on the indispensable 2 CD Deram collection "The Story Of Them Featuring Van Morrison".

Hear "It's All Over Now Baby Blue":

ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8aocyanYqc

Hear "I Can Only Give you Everything":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtscUJHqHaA

Watch Them perform for the cameras of the U.S. TV show "Where The Action Is":

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