Monday, March 6, 2017

North American 60's Covers Of Semi Obscure British Tunes

To say the impact of the British Invasion on the American music scene in the 1960's was phenomenal is an understatement. Certainly the Beatles and Stones launched thousands of bands in the States. But then there were bands that went beyond your Top 40 British bands and covered tracks that weren't in the American hit parade.  Here's a few that leaned towards more obscure bands or titles.

Scan c/o

1. BARBARA EDEN-"Bend It" US 45 Dot 45-16999 1967
Hold the phones, Jeanie of "I Dream Of Jeanie" covering Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky , Mick & Tich?! Damn straight! Okay I'll own up that it's not exactly something you will want to play more than once but it gets extra marks for effort.  Bab's sultry tones and the addition of a sitar didn't launch this into the charts.

2. THE MURMAIDS-"Paper Sun" US 45 Liberty 56078 1968
Another one to file under "What in the f*ck?".  This cheery, sunny cover of Traffic's psychedelic debut 45 is aptly pulled off and works perfectly as a sunny Californian pop record by the Murmaids with some cool fuzz guitar and hard hitting drums beneath the angelic harmonies replacing the buzzing/Eastern feel of the original.

Scan c/o

3. THE KORDS-"Boris The Spider" US 45 Laurie LR 3403 1967
This Florida based band wasted no time cutting this John Entwistle penned Who track from their "A Quick One" album (released as "Happy Jack" here in the US).  It's bouncy, light hearted and driven by some nice fuzz guitar.  Oddly it also got a release in New Zealand on Stateside too!

4. THREE TO ONE-"See Emily Play" Canadian 45 Arc  A 11286 1967
Okay so these folks were Canadian and no offense to our North American cousins in Canada. Hot on the heels of the Canadian 45 release on Capitol (as 72475 in May of '67) Three To One hit the ground running with this cover that sticks fairly close to the original butwith an amusing woman's voice saying "Everyone know how to play?" before some spacey sound affects instead of an organ solo.

5. THE LIVIN' END-"Making Time" Unreleased 1966
Texas garage band The Livin' End cut a version of The Creation's "Making Time" (released in the US in July 1966 as Planet 45-116) that remained unissued until the 90's. Eschewing guitarist Eddie Phillip's violin bow action on the original the Livin' End instead ratchet up the feedback and make a wonderful racket of it with a great Southern accent on the lead vocals too , which kinda works considering the Creation's Kenny Pickett always seemed to have sang one.

Scan c/o

6. THE STILLROVEN-"Little Picture Playhouse" US 45 August AUG 101 1967
Minneapolis, MN's Stillroven take a Simon Dupree & The Big Sound cut from their LP "Without Reservations" (released in the States on Tower ) and run with it. Again kudos for mega obscurity and though it pretty much sticks to the original (sans brass) it's pretty enjoyable. They also later issued a cover of the Small Faces "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me" as the follow up to this 45.

7. THE STEREO SHOESTRING-"On The Road South" US 45 English 1302 1968
This 45 is not a cover but a complete rewrite of The Pretty Thing's "Defecting Grey" which was never released in the U.S. Issued by the curiously named Texan band The Stereo Shoestring musically "On The Road South" IS "Defecting Grey" but some of the lyrics have been changed and despite bordering on a cacophony it's still an amusing listen.

Scan c/o

8. THE SONS OF ADAM-"You're A Better Man Than I" US 45 Decca 31995 1966
There were no less than 6 American covers of this Hugg brothers composition made famous by the Yardbirds  released in 1966-1967 (possibly more), but this is my favorite.  It's snotty, powerful and though it sticks to the original arrangement it doesn't try to replicate it note for note.

9. BLUES MAGOOS-"I Can Hear The Grass Grow" US 45 Mercury 72838 1968
New York's Blues Magoos took The Move's second single "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" (released in the States in June 1967 as Deram 45-7506) and made it their own by adding some combo organ and making it heavier with a fuller sound reminiscent of fellow American Anglophiles The Nazz.

10. THE JAGGED EDGE-"Midnight To Six Man" US 45 Twirl 2024 1966
New York City's Jagged Edge join the class by covering the Prettie's classic "Midnight To Six" (issued in the US as Fontana F-1540 in February '66) the same month the original was issued here.  Rather than cover it note for note they drench in harp wailing, snotty Jaggerish lead vocals and reverb saturated guitar with loads of echo reminding me of Texan garage legends The Bad Seeds.

No comments: