Monday, July 18, 2011

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels:John's Lee's Groundhogs

JOHN LEE'S GROUNDHOGS-I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Over You Baby U.S Planet 45-104 1966
One of the great British soul/r&b singles of the mid 60's is this one off  for Shel Talmy's Planet records (and an American pressing at that). From what I can ascertain it looks like all of the Planet singles gained a release in the U.S. because they utilized the same catalog numbers as the U.K releases.  I have owned a number of U.S. Planet 45's (the two Creation ones, A Wild Uncertainty, The Corduroys, The Thoughts and today's item).  All but my Thoughts 45 were white label promo copies.  The Thoughts 45 was a stock copy which had a red label, I have seen red label copies of both Creation issues before but none of the other releases in this form, have any of you?  I'd also be curious to know for sure if the entire Planet catalog was released in the States, I'm assuming it was because as mentioned they used the same catalog numbers unless they just randomly selected certain releases and didn't bother reordering them in sequential numbers, any thoughts?

Released in January 1966, "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" is a cover of a Bobby Freeman number penned by one Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart, by John Lee's Groundhogs (later shortened to become the famous U.K  heavy blues act The Groundhogs). The band had previously released a single as The Groundhogs ("Shake It" /"Rock Me" a U.S only release for Veeejay records in early 1965) and backed John Lee Hooker on his 1964 U.K. tour (it was Hooker who was instrumental in getting their U.S. only 45 released) and later backed a host of many other visiting U.K. blues legends. Led by the legendary U.K.  blues acolyte Tony "T.S" McPhee the band the band veered into more of a soul direction with this release, technically their U.K. 45 rpm debut.

"I'll Never Fall In Love Again"  features some stellar horn work, soulful vocals and a great bit at the middle where it slows down and the lead singer John Cruickshank sings quite reminiscent of Eric Burdon and the guitar gets all distorted and freakbeat before the staccato soul horns burst back in.  It's a classic dancer! "Over You Baby", a band original, is slower but benefits again from soulful lead vocals and a razor sharp American sounding horn section.

Both sides were collected on RPM's brilliant CD compilation "The Best of Planet Records", which is now sadly out of print but seriously worth the search for!

Hear "I'll Never Fall In Love Again":

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