Thursday, October 29, 2020
More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Geno Washington Part Two
Friday, October 23, 2020
The Searchers "Take Me For What I'm Worth"
THE SEARCHERS-Take Me For What I'm Worth/Too Many Miles UK Pye 7N.15992 1965
We could fill and entire post talking about The Searchers and their "folk rock" sound, but I'm not going to do that. What we are going to discuss is their twelfth U.K. single, "Take Me For What I'm Worth". The band's drummer Chris Curtis was well known for his "ear" for potential hits to cover and he dug up this P.F. Sloan track for them to cover (he later suggested in an interview with journalist Spencer Leigh that it was "probably the first gay anthem"). Strangely enough Sloan's version appeared on a French E.P. one month before this version hit the streets in England in November of '65 (December in the US).
"Take Me For What I'm Worth" ranks as one of The Searcher's strongest numbers in my estimation. It was their next to last visit to the British charts clocking in at #20 (the last would be their version of The Stone's "Take It Or Leave It" which would climb to #31). Kicking off with a mournful guitar lick and Mike Pender's equally downtrodden vocals it's powered by some amazing guitars and a powerful strumming that resembles the chording of The Jam's later hit "That's Entertainment". And of course there's P.F. Sloan's brilliant "don't get mixed up with me I'm bad news" lyrics delivered by Pender at times with an almost venomous lilt.
The B-side "Too Many Miles"was penned by all four Searchers (Frank Allen, Chris Curtis, John McNally and Mike Pender respectively). It's a mellow number with this almost baroque feel that reminds me of something off The Move's first LP! Not their best track but certainly an interesting touch for 1965! The woodwind solo is clearly ahead of it's time.
Both sides are available on a host of Searchers collections that thanks to the likes of Castle Communications are NEVER out of print. I highly recommend their 1965 LP "Take Me For What I'm Worth" which contains both sides of this single.
Hear "Take Me For What I'm Worth":
Hear "Too Many Miles":
Friday, October 16, 2020
More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Heinz
Friday, October 9, 2020
Top 10 80's 45's Part Two: Britannia Rules The (Air) Waves!
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Eric Burdon: From Geordie R&B Belter To Acid Messiah: "Monterey"
ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS-Monterey/Ain't That So US MGM K13868 1967
L.S.D. changed a lot of people in the music world, and none more so than Newcastle's own Eric Burdon who made the leap from Geordie brown ale supping flat cap wearing r&b disciple to full blown acid eating flower child.
The Animals were huge in the States racking up eight hits here on the MGM label before Burdon revamped the line up with all new faces retaining only the last Animals drummer, ex-Nashville Teen Barry Jenkins and rechristening themselves as "Eric Burdon & The Animals". And with this revamp came the make over brought on by changing times and a little something called Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. By mid 1966 Burdon became a full on L.S.D. convert and the band's predilection for Chuck Berry took a back seat. Such was Burdon & Company's freak street cred that they were among the handful of British acts invited to perform at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival held in Monterey, California June 16-18, 1967. Burdon also introduced The Who at the gig and then commemorated the event with the release of this December 1967 single "Monterey" (it not released in the U.K. until the following year). As cringe worthy as the lyrics are (especially when Burdon refers to Ravi Shankar as "Ravi Shanknar") with all the name checking (Hendrix, The Byrds, Brian Jones as "His Majesty Prince Jones", The Who etc) it's musically interesting. In some cases with each mention of a particular musician there's something musical to represent them, ie electric sitar during Ravi Shankar's name or a trumpet riff during Hugh Masekella's mention. The whole track is carried around by a raga guitar lick mixed with some horns that have a slightly "pop" music feel, being neither jazzy nor r&b and then some sawing cello/violin comes in to add an even freakier effect.
"Ain't That So" is an interesting number. It's an almost polar opposite of the A-side. Kicking off with a Dave Clarke Five style drum roll it reminds me a bit of "We're Not What We Appear To Be" with it's fuzz guitar and lyrical message of "freedom for youth" ("you stick to your scene baby, we got our own"). Regardless of it's "message" I really dig it, it's repetitive chorus grows on you!
"And may the baby Jesus shut your mouth and open your mind": Burdon mixes psychedelia with evangelism.
Both sides are available on an extensive five CD retrospective "When I Was Young: The MGM Years 1967-1968".
Hear "Ain't That So":