Saturday, January 18, 2020

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Knack...Erm....The Lobsters

THE LOBSTERS-(The Man From The)Marriage Guidance And Advice Bureau/Dolly Catcher Man US Mercury 72696 1967

Every now and then a U.K. 60's 45 was issued in the U.S. with the band name being altered for some bizarre reason.  I first heard of this when Wild Silk's Shel Talmy produced "(Visions In A) Plaster Sky"/"Toymaker" came out over here credited to "Basil" and recently Larry over at Funky 16 Corners told me about a Cocktail Cabinet 45 issued here as "We Believe". Recently I stumbled upon another one, The Knack's (the U.K. 60's sorts) final single "(The Man From) The Marriage Guidance And Advice Bureau" (Piccadilly 7N 35367 February 1967) which was released here on Mercury and credited to "The Lobsters" (possibly to avoid confusion with a US 60's band of the same name).

The Knack were a UK 60's quartet featuring the famous Paul Gurvitz (lead vocals/guitar), Brian Morris (vocals/guitar), Gery Kenworthy (bass) and Topper Clay (drums). Gurvitz of course would join brother Adrian to find fame as Gun, bit that's another story for another day.

After their first two singles on the Decca label went nowhere John Schroeder signed the band to Pye's Piccadilly offshoot in 1966 resulting in three more singles, none of which did anything.  The band would cut just one more single with the label before splitting. Issued as Piccadilly 7N 35367 in February 1967 "(The Man From) The Marriage Guidance And Advice Bureau" backed with "Dolly Catcher Man", as mentioned above was issued here where it was their only US release, like it's predecessors it did nothing on either side of the Atlantic. I was first introduced to the A-side back in 1990 when it graced a Sequel CD compilation called "Quick Before They Catch Us". It's a somber acoustic guitar led track that falls somewhere between early Al Stewart and Duncan Browne with some great harmonies with some tongue and cheek lyrics that perfectly fits in with its quirky release date.

The B-side, the curiously titled "Dolly Catcher Man" starts out sounding like a folk rock/Dylan pastiche but then the 12 string kicks in and the high harmonies join in it becomes a half way decent quirky pop tune.

Both sides were compiled on a Knack CD collection put out by Rev-Ola in 2007 titled "Time Time Time".

Hear "(The Man From) The Marriage Guidance And Advice Bureau":

Hear "Dolly Catcher Man":

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