Monday, March 12, 2018

Mod Anthems Part Three: Chris Farlowe's "Buzz With The Fuzz"

CHRIS FARLOW & THE THUNDERBIRDS-Buzz With The Fuzz/You're The One UK Columbia DB 7614 1965

It's been awhile since we chose a "mod anthem" here (we discussed "My Generation" and "The London Boys" here eons ago). Today's subject was cut by Brit r&b stalwarts Chris Farlow and the Thunderbirds (the "e" was dropped from Farlowe's name on all five of his UK Columbia 45's ) and released in Britain in June 1965 and remains one of the most controversial mid 60's British 45's.

"Buzz With The Fuzz" looms large in the legend of mid 60's British mod/r&b sounds, mostly due to it's lyrics which sing about running red lights, rolling up joints, sex with an underage girl and shooting craps. It is alleged that the 45 was banned by the BBC, but I have yet to find much information on it other than that being repeated endlessly in liner notes.  Interestingly the track was not reissued until the late 80's on a Decal records Chris Farlowe LP that took it's title from the track and it was their last release on Columbia so it's possible it DID land them in hot water.  All of that out of the way musically its an amazing slice of Brit 60's mod "Flamingo" r&b: horns, organ (which replicates a police siren) , jazzy guitar breaks (care of ace guitarist Albert Lee) with a catchy delivery not unlike Gunnell Agency mates Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames.

Promotional photo for "Buzz With The Fuzz" c/o

The flip "You're The One" is another slice of frantic Brit r&b.  It's fairly pedestrian until Lee's brilliant guitar solo kicks in followed by a nifty organ solo by Dave Greenslade. Sadly this would be the last single to bear "The Thunderbirds" credit on the label.  With Farlowe's move to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label a few months later his records were recorded featuring studio musicians, though The Thunderbirds continued to back him on live work. Both sides were written by Farlowe (using his real last name Deighton), Albert Lee and Thunderbirds bassist Ricky Charman.

Both sides are available on RPM's highly recommended "Dig The Buzz: Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds: First Recordings '62-'65" and "Buzz With The Fuzz" has surfaced on the excellent Brit 60's r&b CD comp "Take My Tip: 25 British Mod Artefacts From The EMI Vaults".

Hear "Buzz With The Fuzz":

Hear "You're The One":

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