Friday, July 2, 2010

Denny Laine's Brilliant Solo Deram Debut

DENNY LAINE-Say You Don't Mind/Ask The People U.S. Deram 45-7509 1967

When Denny Laine had enough and quit The Moody Blues (see May 27, 2009 entry) who knew he'd bounce back so quickly?  By 1967 he'd been signed over to Decca's "new" offshoot Deram and in April of that year saw the release of his "solo" debut (Deram DM 122) which even got a U.S. release as we can see here.

     Denny looking cool with his
     psychedelic Rickenbacker  1966
With help from Denny Cordell, upon leaving The Moodies in the summer of 1966 Denny had managed to put together what was known as "Denny Laine's Electric String Band", a band with multiple violin/cello players as well as a bassist and ex-Pretty Thing's madman Viv Prince on drums. The band actually did a fair amount of gigging (one wonders where they played with two violinists and two cellists). The project's fruition was his debut single in question here.  "Say You Don't Mind" is one of those classic Deram releases that broke new grounds (The Move, Cat Stevens, Bowie, Tintern Abbey etc).  From it's woodwinds, strings and rocking backing track it should've been a number one.  No doubt it was probably kept away by some tripe like Engelbert or The New Seekers.  But you can say this, there weren't many people doing this "string section" bit this early on in Deram's roster.  Groundbreaking I think one of the "Disc & Music Echo" clips I have somewhere said.  Denny's voice is strong and hits some notes few could get away with.  Everyone always raves about the Colin Blunstone version, but for me this is the genuine article.  The flipside, "Ask The People" is equally strong .  It's simple acoustic guitar at the beginning is sparse and then leads into some more orchestration.  Laine's vocals and lyrics are amazing (he wrote both sides), in fact I like just as much if not more than the A-side!! 

Sadly there was only to be one more Denny Laine single on Deram: "Too Much In Love" b/w "Catherine's Wheel" (U.K. DM 171 in January 1968).

I'm sure neither of these cuts have cropped up on a CD reissue as of yet, which is beyond criminal.  If they have give us a shout.  One would hope there's a bevy of Laine Deram era material laying in vaults someplace given the brilliance of these two singles............but right now there are just horrible iTunes "Oldies" style re-recordings of "Say You Don't Mind" available with (ack!) synthesizers replacing the strings!

1967 promo film for "Say You Don't Mind". Wiggy eh? Those were the days I'm guessing..


greenockian said...

Great blast from me past mate! Denny doing a great Lennon-look-a-likee too.

Wilthomer said...

Someday I'm going to do a blog photo montage of all the "Guardsmen" style moustaches on British 60's pop stars! I'm thinking Lennon and Macca were first, but who knows!