Monday, February 5, 2018

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Ferris Wheel

THE FERRIS WHEEL-I Can't Break The Habit/Number One Guy US Phillips 40512 1968

Britain's Ferris Wheel were a multi racial 6 piece who made their debut in October 1967 with the John Schroeder produced "I Can't Break The Habit" (UK Pye 7N 17387). The band was comprised of ex-Checkmates brothers Dave (saxophone) and George Sweetman (bass) and Barry Reeves (drums), ex-West Five organist/vocalist Mike Liston (also know as Mike Snow!),  guitarist Keith Anthony and vocalist Diane Ferraz, formerly one half of the Simon Napier Bell produced multiracial duo Diane and Nicky.

Discovered by producer Schroeder during a set at the hip London night spot the Bag O' Nails club where they gigged as part of the many r&b acts under the famous Gunnell agency, he wasted no time securing them a deal with Pye and getting them into the studio. The result was this, their debut 45. It was released in the US in January 1968 (it would be their sole US 45, though a later line up would release an LP here on UNI).

"I Can't Break The Habit" is a perfect 1967 melding of British club r&b with slightly trippy, almost psychedelic overtones with hypnotic combo organ trills layered with blistering guitar licks and flute meshed with strong horns that almost sound like fuzz guitars!  The highlight of course is Diane Ferraz vocals and the chorus that sounds like a mantra!

The flip, "Number One Guy", is firmly devoid of anything psychedelic and is a total uptempo brass backed, Motown influenced soul groover and after a resurgence on the dreaded Northern Soul scene found it's place (rightfully so) on multiple British 60's soul/Northern soul compilations over the past 30 plus years!

Both sides can be found on Sequel's now out of print anthology of the band's Pye material "Can't Break The Habit". On the compilation side of things "Can't Break The Habit" was comped by Psychic Circle for their "We Can Fly" CD while "Number One Guy" recently appeared on several Northern soul collections, among them "Keeping the Faith: 30 Stomping Northern Soul Classics" and "Northern Soul (Backdrops, Highkicks And Handclaps)".

Hear "I Can't Break The Habit":

Hear "Number One Guy":

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