Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yet Even More U.K. 60's Ska/R&B Sounds

MICKEY FINN & THE BLUE MEN-Pills/Hush Your Mouth U.K. Oriole CB-1927 1964

As covered in my earlier blog entries, there were a few ska influenced British r&b bands . Mickey Finn & The Blue Men had already managed a 45 on the Jamaican specialty label Blue Beat (see entry 12/15/08) in 1964. Shortly afterwards they managed another ska coup on the U.K. label Oriole.

If I were to tell you that a British 60's r&b band did ska tunes you wouldn't bat an eye, but have you ever heard anybody do ska versions of Bo Diddley numbers? I doubt it. Whereas their lone Blue Beat 45 ("Tom Hark" b/w "Please Love Me") attempted to sound more "authentic" with a slightly close approximation of what a bona fide Jamaican ska record would sound like their offering here on Oriole is a bit different. For starters "Hush" has saxophone along with the more stereotypical British r&b tools like maracas, harmonica, bass, guitar and drums. While it's not The Pretty Things or the Downliners Sect it ain't Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames either. Both numbers rely on the same pace, the rocking ska shuffle stereotypically used by most cheezy cash in's (like The Migil Five's dreadful U.K. hit of "Mockingbird Hill"), so much to the point that they've ceased to be Bo Diddley songs anymore and become more like Byron Lee and The Dragonaire's "holiday camp ska". "Pills" is the better of the two in my estimation because, well it's the better of the two Bo Diddley tunes.

Both sides of the Blue Beat 45 have been legally reissued to the collection of their work "Garden Of My Mind: The Complete Recordings 1964-1967".

"Hush Your Mouth":

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