|NORMIE ROWE-Going Home/I Don't Care (Just Take Me There) U.K. Polydor 56159 1967|
|Before the call-up, before England, 1966|
Normie Rowe and his backing band The Playboys had quite a string of successful hits in Australia before taking a page from the book of the likes of The Bee Gees, The Easybeats and The Twilights who all left Australia for a crack at the U.K. Normie and Co. did the same in August of 1966. Despite a large push by his U.K. label Polydor (with four singles released in a year) he had little impact. His final U.K. release was today's subject, a previous;y unrecorded/unreleased composition by Graham Gouldman called "Going Home" recorded in the U.K., produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and arranged by David Whitaker. It was issued back home in Auz on Sunshine QIK 1731.
"Going Home" is a pop psych classic. With it's sweeping strings that fade in and out and create a dream scape Rowe sings in an almost Gene Pitney type voice. In the first verse he comes in early and re-repeats the first few words again, I'm not sure if this was a mistake or something intentional but he does it on each verse afterwards as well. The flip is a track comprised by Gomelsky associate and Blossom Toes member Brian Godding titled ""I Don't Care (Just Take Me There)". You'd expect some Blossom Toes type flower psych but the number is nothing of the sort. It's a perky piece of well crafted/session man fodder akin to the likes of The Foundations or Love Affair. At first I did not care for it despite it's groovy "ba ba ba ba" backing vocals and raga guitar solo, but after a few listens it's infectious melody stuck in my head. The record, like all of Normie's previous U.K. releases, failed so he headed off to tour North America with Roy Orbison (where oddly his cover of "Shakin' All Over" had garnered a release on the Jubilee label as 45-5518). After the tour was over he then headed back home via the U.K. where most of the Playboys remained to cut a monstrously rare/in demand one off single for Immediate "Sad"/"Black Sheep R.I.P." (IM 054 June 1967, an Australian issue, a little less rare was on Festival's Sunshine offshoot label as QIK 1872).
Rowe's career continued back home until September 1967 when he received his draft notice. Unlike many other entertainers Rowe (Davy Jones, Scott Walker, various Beach Boys.....a good lawyer and lots of $$$ keeps the draft board away) went willingly, being inducted in February 1968 and 11 months later was shipped off to Vietnam where he served with distinction in the Australian army as a crewman on an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier until honorably discharged a year later. Sadly Rowe's career was never quite the same as it'd been in '65-'67 but he remains to this day a powerful advocate for Vietnam Veteran's and in 1979 contributed music for the soundtrack to the Bryan Brown film "The Odd Angry Shot" about Australian S.A.S. troopers in Vietnam in 1967/1968.
"Going Home" was reissued as part of Big Beat's amazing series of Australian 60's music on their pop psych volume "Peculiar Hole In the Sky: Pop-Psych From Down Under" CD.
Hear "Going Home":