Sunday, December 15, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jon Mark "Night Comes Down"

JON MARK-Night Comes Down/Baby I've Got A Long Way To Go US Decca 31732 1965

Freakbeat and British 60's r&b fans will no doubt recall Mickey Finn's single "Night Comes Down" (curiously used at the end of an episode of HBO's no defunct series "Vinyl"), but what many of you may not know is that it first recorded and released a month earlier by a British folk/blues guitarist named Jon Mark. Produced by Shel Talmy for his Orbit production company it was Mark's debut single. It released first here in the States in January 1965 after Talmy had taken tapes of his UK Brunswick recordings to be issued in the US Mark's single along with The Pro's and Cons and a debut 45 by a London group called The Who on the US Decca imprint.  It was released the following month as Brunswick 05929 in the UK. The A-side on both sides of the Atlantic was a tune called "Baby I Got A Long Way To Go". Prior to this release Jon Mark had been a fixture on the UK folk scene for some time and his greatest claim to fame thus far was being Marianne Faithful's guitarist (he would later be half of the famous duo Mark-Almond).

"Night Comes Down" is delivered in an acoustic folk/blues style not unlike that of guitarist Davy Graham. With it's acoustic guitar finger picking, stand up bass and brushes on the drums it's easy to imagine Graham performing it. His vocal style is smoky, almost whispered evoking some darkened blues cellar club. It was written by Talmy with Jon Mark (credited on the label with his real name John Burchell).

"Baby I Got A Long Way To Go", a Mark original, is the weaker of the two tracks.  There's some fuzzbox on it that creates a drone like effect (newly acquired by session player Jimmy Page) and vocally it recalls early Cat Stevens. With it's uptempo happy go lucky feel to it would not be at all out of place on the latter's two Deram long players. The main chorus is almost hypnotic.

Both sides are available on the RPM Jon Mark CD compilation "Sally Free And Easy".

Hear "Night Comes Down":

Hear "Baby I Got A Long Way To Go":

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