Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pretty Things:Good Bye To R&B

THE PRETTY THINGS-Rainin' In My Heart/London Town/Sittin' All Alone/Get A Buzz  U.K. Fontana TE 17442 1965

I'll own up to being bored sh*tless by The Pretties earlier r&b sides and it wasn't till what I call their "Mod period ("Come See Me", "Midnight To Six Man" etc) that my interest really starts for them.  That was, till I owned this E.P.  It took me ages to dig it and I bought it because, well it looked cool.  It's also one of their last 7 inches from the "classic line-up" which to me included the soon-to-be-leaving madman Viv Prince on drums.

"Rainin' In My Heart" still bores me, more of that boring bluesy Pretties era stuff that just leaves me cold. Sorry, I much prefer The Olympics rocking version on Loma.  "London Town", now here we're onto something kids.  It's mind blowing to me, the way it starts with just acoustic guitar and bongos and Dick Taylor's little riffs bleed in and out here and there while Phil May sings in this sleepy (stoned?)/weary tone like he's just travelled the length of the British Isles.

"Sittin' All Alone" could be a bit mundane and bluesy by it's title but it's not .  It's got these great sorta out of tune 12 string bits and these snippets of rave up double timed strumming ever now and then and these ominous but atmospheric background harmonies (yes that's right, harmonies on a Pretty Things record). It also sounds somewhat "stoned" too.  Which leads us to..."Get A Buzz".  If "Get A Buzz" had more feedback and some faint Hammond it'd sound like a number from the first Small Faces album.  The whole thing is sort of this ad lib, piss take attempt at being soulful, it isn't, not by a long shot.  But that doesn't mean it's not great.  The whole number sounds like it's just going to fall apart from lack of cohesion any second, but it doesn't, not for 4 minutes plus it doesn't after lots of harp blowing and nifty string bending from Dick and Phil who sings like he was making it all up on the spot!  In the end Dick turns up the fuzz and everybody calls it a session.

All four of the E.P.'s tracks are available in multiple places. I've got them as bonus cuts on their second LP, CD reissue on their "mod period "album "Get The Picture".

No comments: