Monday, April 22, 2024

Alma Cogan-"Snakes And Snails"


Alma Cogan-Snakes, Snails And Puppy Dog Tails/How Many Nights Denmark Columbia DB 7622 1965

British 60's female singer Alma Cogan was long associated with the old variety show/pop guard so this completely rockin' July 1965 release (U.K. Columbia DB 7652 where it was titled simply "Snakes And Snails" on stock releases) must have come as quite the surprise to the public and her fans! Written and produced by Searchers drummer Chris Curtis in one of his first sessions behind the producers chair, he put quite a mix together for the recording as told to author Spencer Leigh in a "Record Collector" interview a few years before his death:

"I got Bobby Ore on drums, John Paul Jones on bass, Jimmy Page, Vic Flick and Joe Moretti on guitars and they played out of their skins! She didn't realise that she'd have to sing over a heavy rock backing and she loved it. The backing vocalists were Dusty Springfield, Doris Troy, Rosetta Hightower from The Orlons and me. Boy did we have fun."

Though Curtis has been known to embellish the truth a bit at times regardless of who's really on the record it's an incredible piece of music (Dusty's voice can audibly be heard on the backing vocals). The musical backing is solid and incredibly powerful as is the vocal delivery. The lyrics are completely dark and twisted (imagine a more fatal ending to "Love Potion #9"). It is alleged that Keith Richards panned it in a music newspaper as "one of the worst records I've ever heard".  Regardless of whether that's true the record went nowhere and Alma succumbed to overran cancer the following year at just 34 years of age.


The flip, "How Many Nights" is utterly disposable pop schlock, like something Brenda Lee or Lulu would have been forced to record. Next....

"Snakes And Snails" appeared ages ago on the Past & Present  "new Rubble" series CD "New Rubble Volume 5". 

Hear "Snakes, Snails And Puppydog Tails":

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