Thursday, January 7, 2021

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Alan Price Does Randy Newman

THE ALAN PRICE SET-Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear/Tickle Me US Parrot 45-PAR-3009 1967

I will probably court abuse and derision by stating this but I have never worshiped in the cult of Randy Newman. His music in all the Pixar movies makes me cringe and his voice causes me to shudder BUT I do, on occasion, enjoy other artists interpretations of his earlier material.

In the mid 60's Britain lots of artists were quick to take note of the upcoming song writing talents of Newman. Cilla Black, The Nashville Teens, Billy Fury, Duffy Power, Joe Brown etc all cut Randy Newman compositions. Ex-Animals keyboard player Alan Price joined the list when he recorded Newman's "Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear"  b/w another Newman original "Tickle Me" on the flip. It was issued in February of '67 as Decca F 12570 where it rose to # 4 (his third Top 10 U.K. hit) and his fifth British single. It was released in the States a month later as "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" and was his third American 45, sadly it failed to chart. 

For those who have never heard it, "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" is a chirpy upbeat number punctuated by some catchy horn parts  reminiscent of Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames and a completely ear catching melody with some nifty key changes. It clashes with Price's more r&b sounds but the earlier mentioned brass section adds a very  different sound to it that adds to it's charm (to my ears anyway). 

"Tickle Me" is, to my ears, a polar opposite to the A-side. It's almost dirge like at times and just reminds me too much of early Billy Joel!! The musical backing has something interesting going on that I can't quite place but not enough redeem it for my ears. 

Both sides have been issued on a variety of Alan Price Decca era collections, most notably the three CD set "Twice The Price" and a double CD "The House that Jack Built: The Complete 60's Sessions". The A-side was included on his debut U.S. album, 1968's "The Price Is Right" (Parrot PA/PAS 71018) but not the B-side, someone at Parrot likes me....

Hear "Simon Smith And His Amazing Bear":

Hear "Tickle Me":

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