Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: Chris Farlowe is Little Joe Cook

LITTLE JOE COOK-Stormy Monday Blues Part One/Stormy Monday Blues Part Two U.K. Sue WI385 1965

One of my fave U.K. mid 60's r&b singles is this U.K. only 45 of Billy Eckstine's famous "Stormy Monday" (edited to span both sides of a 45) by Chris Farlowe and Thunderbirds and released under the pseudonym of "Little Joe Cook" as C.F. and the boys were signed to Columbia and this 45 was recorded for Island and issued on U.K. mod/r&b D.J. supremo Guy Steven's (U.K.) Sue label. How he got away with it and wasn't dropped by Columbia is beyond me, BUT within three month's of this singles release (August 1965) he was on Immediate records so who knows as he'd already landed himself in hot water with his last Columbia single June 1965's "Buzz With The Fuzz" (Columbia DB 7614), but that, as they say, is a story for another day!

In my estimation it's one of Chris Farlowe's greatest vocal efforts.  I dig Chris Farlowe a lot but I will admit that there are a great deal of times (especially on his Immediate records stuff) where he sings material that's not really in his vocal range. This is NOT one of those times. His voice is perfect and Albert Lee's bluesy (and jazzy as there's a Wes Montgomery feel to it as well) solo rates in my estimation as one of the finest put down on any 60's British r&b 45! The whole track is jut perfect, it's somber without being morose and perfectly atmospheric like a rainy but beautiful day.

Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds 1964

Around 10 years ago when P.B.S. aired Martin Scorsese's documentary series "The Blues" there was a segment devoted to Blues in Britain called "Red White & Blue". Among the many delights it featured Chris Farlowe and guitarist Albert Lee discussing the tune and luckily it's on YouTube and it beats anything else I can tell you about it :

 RPM's Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds CD from their '62-'65 period "Dig The Buzz" collected both sides of this single while the CD soundtrack to the above "Martin  Scorsese Presents Red White And Blues" features a full length version which is quite nice to have (though you can hear where it's been spliced together when he sings "Sunday is my day of rest rest...")!

Hear "Stormy Monday" in it's entirety:

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