Sunday, December 12, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Rockin' Berries


THE ROCKIN' BERRIES-The Water Is Over My Head/Time Doesn't Fly US Reprise 0442 1966

British harmony/beat specialists The Rockin' Berries issued five singles in the U.S. (all on the Reprise label). Their first, "He's In Town" (Reprise 0329 November 1964) scored minor airplay here, but hits were elusive for them. 

In February 1966 Reprise issued their final U.S. single, an Al Kooper/Joey Levine composition called "The Water Is Over My Head" (previously issued by the band back home in November 1965 as Piccadilly 7N 35270). The track was originally cut by American singer Eddie Hodges (also known for cutting a version of "Shadows And Reflections")  on the flip of his cover of Dylan's "Love Minus Zero" (Aurora 156 October 1965) and it is this arrangement that the Berries base their version on. The Rockin' Berries version , in my estimation, is much stronger and although their recording is essentially a carbon copy of Hodge's arrangement theirs is meaty thanks to the band's razor sharp harmonies which give the track much more bite and the lead vocalist has a far stronger voice.

Clearly not the last band to pose in front of Big Ben!

The flip "Time Doesn't Fly" is possibly one of the shortest 45's I've ever heard clocking in at just 1:26 long! It's almost rockabilly with it's slap back feel and Chet Atkin's licks. The production has an almost Joe Meek quality to it (especially the blistering guitar).  Next!

Both sides have been issued in a host of places because like most artists on Pye/Piccadilly their material has been licensed to death!

Hear "The Water Is Over My Head":

Hear "Time Doesn't Fly":

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