Saturday, February 15, 2020

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: Adam Faith Channels The Bee Gees

ADAM FAITH-Cowman MilkYour Cow/Daddy What'll Happen To Me UK Parlophone R 5635 1967
When the Bee Gees broke in the U.K. in 1967 manager Robert Stigwood wasted no time hustling their material which resulted in an interesting deluge of cover versions and compositions not officially released by the Brothers Gibb.  Many it seemed, were by artists whose ships has sailed with the advent of psychedelia like Gerry Mardsen ("Gilbert Green"), Billy J. Kramer ("The Town Of Tuxley Toymaker") and today's subject, Adam Faith.

Hits had dried up for Adam. He cut an amazing version of Bob Lind's "Cheryl's Going Home" in October of 1966 . September of the following year saw the release of a Bee Gee's composition "Cowman Milk Your Cow" (issued in the US on Laurie as LR 3455 the following year with the sides reversed). It was never released by the Bee Gees and their vocal presence on the track indicates that they were either in on the session or, as in the case of other Gibb brother's covers, the track was cut over the top of their demo.  There seems to be some contention on who plays on the track with the suggestion that Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green plays guitar, there are also suggestions that Faith's stalwart backing band, The Roulettes are responsible for the musical backing (the later are mentioned in the liner notes of an EMI Adam Faith compilation CD which I would expect to be believable). Regardless of who is on it the track is magical. Beginning with a pastoral jangling guitar, looping Macca-esque bass lines and raga licks that dart in and out it's amazing from start to finish. The lyrics are off beat ("cowman milk your cow, keep away from the dark side...") and reflective ("how many years will it take till the moment when we all descend and that could be a million years and that's a long long time"). Barry and Robin Gibb's voices can be heard in tandem with Adam's on alternating verses. The ending fades out in a semi trippy way with the backing vocals repeating "long long long time" over and over like a mantra. Unfortunately the Midas touch of the Brothers Gibb failed to apply and the track was not a hit.

New Musical Express September 23, 1967

The B-side "Daddy What'll Happen To Me" is an anti-war protest number. It starts out with a trumpet playing taps on top of some acoustic guitar. The chorus almost sounds like a C&W tune but the regal trumpets and Vernon's Girls styles backing vocals give it a distinctly British feel. Lyrically it's an incredibly powerful number written from the point of a terrified young soldier in the front lines that requires a few spins before becoming interesting.

Both sides were collected on the exhaustive CD "Complete Faith: HMV, Top Rank& Parlophone Recordings 1958-1968".

Hear "Cowman Milk Your Cow":

Hear "Daddy What'll Happen To Me":

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