Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Stray Rays:10 More Great Ray Davie's 60's Covers

1.The Knack (U.K. 60's)-"Who'll Be the Next In Line" U.K. Decca F 12234 1965
There were loads of bands called The Knack, this variety were a 60's U.K. act who had six singles, the first two were on Decca, the last four were on Piccadilly.  This specimen was their debut from September '65 , odd as The Kinks had used it as a B-side for "Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" in January (Pye 7N15813), but seeing as both bands were involved with Larry Page (he produced this) I guess it's not that odd.  It's a tad sped up but differing very little from the original in any other way, but still interesting.  Of more interesting (but Kinks unrelated) note is that it's flip side, "She Ain't No Good", had been previously released by The Clique (Pye 7N1586), another Larry Page production, in February. Strangely the B-side of the next Knack single, "It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)" (Decca F12278 November 1965) would be "Time Time Time", the flip side of The Clique's "She Ain't No Good"!

2.Herman's Hermits-"Dandy" U.S. MGM K13603 1966
Ray's ballad of a wayward playboy first graced a 45 by The Rocking Vickers (U.K. CBS 262241) in August of 1966, The Kink's version would not surface until October on "Face to Face".  Peter Noone and Co. issued their version in the States and on the Continent in September (a U.K. version was finally issued on an E.P. titled "Dandy"as SEG 8520 in April 1967).  Noone's chirpy chippy cheery vocals on the number take away the sneer of Ray's original (don't get me started on the awful cod-country version issued by Clinton Ford in October '66, U.K. Pye 7N35343). The strings add to the "cheery/cheekie" affect, though it's still my fave version of the track in my estimation.  Available on any number of Herman's Hermits "Best Of.." CD's.

3.The Honeycombs-"Something Better Beginning" U.K. Pye 7N15827 1965
Joe Meek's one hot wonders launched their interpretation of The Kink's "Kinda Kinks" LP closing track as their fourth U.K. single in March 1965. It did not trouble the charts as it was hoped (the band had previously toured with The Kinks and Manfred Mann in Asia in January 1965). It's not your typical Joe Meek production as there is a fleeting trumpet burst heralding the end of certain verses while the tempo is increased a bit from the original. It's actually quite interesting arrangement wise and definitely busier than the Kinks take. The band would later go on to record another Ray Davies composition "Emptiness" for their December 1965 long player "All Systems-Go!".

4.The Sneekers-"I Just Can't Go To Sleep" U.K. Columbia DB 7385 1964
Best known for it's use of the volume pedal note bending antics of Shel Talmy's fave hired gun Jimmy Page (with Talmy's composition "Bald Headed Woman" on the flip side) on this session, this single was one of the earliest Ray Davies covers being released the same month (October 1964) that the band's original version graced their untitled debut LP (it was however not Ray's first cover version, that honor goes to Liverpool's The Orchid's January 1964 45 "I've Got That Feeling", Decca F 11861).  Other than Page's guitar pyrotechnics there's little to distinguish it from the original save it's amped up pace.

5.The Ugly's-"End Of The Season" U.K. Pye 7N17178 1966
This was the 4th and final Pye single by Birmingham's Ugly's (they later recorded one a piece for CBS and MGM) and captures one of the more wistful/reflective tunes on The Kink's fifth album "Something Else".  Interestingly The Ugly's version preceded The Kink's by a week shy of a year!  It's more somber than the Muswell Hill lad's version, lacking the tweeting birds and the supper club/jazz dance band shuffle and though the vocals have a distinct  upper crust accent to them they're not nearly as "toff" as Ray's.  The band were the home of Brummie "musician's musician" Steve Gibbons.

German P.S.

6.The Pretty Things-" House In The Country" U.K. Fontana TF 722 1966
One ponders the wisdom of the Pretties (or their management) in issuing a Ray Davies track (as in several of our examples, unissued by The Kinks) as a single as I'd have thought R.D. tunes were for less established acts.  It is perhaps sad to mention that it proved to be their last charting U.K. single (#50). Though not as rocking as The Kinks subsequent take it's worth it just for Dick Taylor's atmospheric little licks and Phil May's sneeringly suave vocals!

7.Gates Of Eden-"Too Much On My Mind" U.K. Pye 7N17195
This October '66 debut by the U.K.'s Gates Of Eden stems from the Kink's "Face To Face" LP and is perhaps the most telling, introspective piece by Ray Davies from the period of his nervous breakdown.  The Gates Of Eden's version differs little from The Kink's in fact it contains a whimsical harpsichord and similar Dave Davies and Rasa Davies (Ray's wife who assisted Dave Davies on backing vocals on many Kink's '66-'67 sessions) backing vocals!  The only major difference being the bass being mixed up high in the mix and being the most pronounced instrument on the track, still not half bad.

8.The Lancastrians-"The World Keeps Going Round" U.K. Pye 7N17195 1966
The Lancastrians cut 6 singles for Pye, this was their 5th, preceding an ill advised cover of "Ballad Of The Green Berets".  Released in January 1966, this cover from The Kink's November '65 LP "Kontroversy" actually surpasses the original in my book.  It's ped up a bit, the vocals have an interesting dejected feel and the guitar breaks chime in a cool little pop/art Who-ish fashion topped off by a nice vibro-trem guitar solo.

Scan c/o

9. Steve Darbishire-"Holiday In Waikiki" U.K. Decca F12553 1967
There were a whopping 7 U.K. singles culled from 7 tracks from The Kinks October 1966 "Face To Face" LP by other artists between July 1966 and January 1967.  Nearly all made attempts to differ from the original, and this is the wildest of them all.  This was Mr. Darbyshire's 5th and final Decca 45, I've no idea who he was but judging by this disc he was a character.  The vocal delivery eventually degenerates into a full on Elvis impersonation type thing but in an almost comical sense as he's obviously not trying to be serious about it (ala Terry Stafford's "Suspicion"). One the fourth verse he can't bothered to finish the line before convulsing into a Charles Nelson Reilly style campy tremor all the while a fuzzed out guitar plays the ukulele lick and the track ends with him replicating the guitar lick vocally before bursting forth with some King-like improvisations!  Sadly it has not been reissued!

10.The Attraction-"Party Line" U.K. Columbia DB 8010 1966
The topside of the November 1966 freakbeat favorite "She's A Girl" (reworked in the 80's by our local/home team Mod Fun as "Mary Goes Round") was this "Face To Face" Dave Davies belter.  It is sped up considerably and is aided by the main riff being a distorted jolt of fuzz (that has an almost raga feel to it) and characterised by a overblown posh female voice echoing the verse after the middle while the sound effects of a party ensue!


diskojoe said...

Anoter great list. I like that Pretty Things PS. As for the Herman's Hermits version of "Dandy", I remember hearing it on the radio when I was a small boy & associating it w/the Dandy brand of soup crackers (my Proustian moment of today).

dickvandyke said...

Quite fabulous work.
Many thanks indeed.