Posted tagged ‘T-Rex’

♪ Random Record A Day #5: Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show b/w I Almost Lost My Mind (SP, 1963)

January 15, 2010

 


Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show

b/w I Almost Lost My Mind
(SP, 1963, Liberty / EMI)

Eddie Cochran - No cover available

At last the randomiser (which is actually just my brother) has thrown up something that isn’t mod or psychedelia!  Unfortunately, its one of my least favourite Eddie Cochran songs, with a B Side I’d never heard before.

But first, what is there to say about Cochran? Born in Oklahoma in 1938, he had a short, but prolific and highly influential, career. As part of The Cochran Brothers – with Hank Cochran, no relation – he cut his first track in mid-1955 aged 17 (a country tribute to the late Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers). By 1958 he had secured his place in history by writing and recording Summertime Blues and appearing in a cameo role in the film The Girl Can’t Help It. A string of other hits followed, and at the age of 21 he was dead, having been thrown through the windscreen in a car crash in England. The driver (who got 6 months for dangerous driving), along with the other passengers Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley, survived.

There are two really interesting bits of trivia surrounding Cochran as well. From wikipedia:

The car and other items from the crash [that killed Cochran] were impounded at the local police station until a coroners’ inquest could be held. At that time, David Harman, better known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, was a police cadet at the station. He taught himself to play guitar on Cochran’s impounded Gretsch 6120.

Coincidentally, earlier in the tour, the same guitar had been carried to the car for Cochran by a young fan called Mark Feld, later to become famous as Marc Bolan of T.Rex and who, in a further coincidence, was also killed while a passenger in a single-car automobile accident … [At one stage] Bolan had his main Les Paul model refinished in a transparent orange to resemble the Gretsch 6120 guitar played by Cochran.

and

On July 6, 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney’s successful audition to join John Lennon’s earliest rock group The Quarrymen opened with Paul picking up one of the groups’ guitars and performing Twenty Flight Rock in the same manner as he saw it played by Eddie Cochran in The Girl Can’t Help It.

Brilliant!

Side A

Alas, now I have to talk about the music. Well first its worth nothing that one of the things Cochran was notable for was that he wrote most of his own songs – but neither of these two are his own compositions. The A Side, Drive In Show, was written by a chap called Fred Dexter and the recording is credited to ‘Eddie Cochran with Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Johnny Mann‘ (quite a mouthful). Thankfully, its not some protoprog lunacy – unfortunately, its not very good either. It was originally recorded and released in 1959 – but this single is a posthumous UK release from 1963.

Basically its an innocent rock ‘n’ roll love ballad about a first date, almost doo-woppy in sound (probably due to the chorus singers). At least I think its innocent – but an uncareful listen might lead one to believe one of the lines goes “I bet my penis to a candy bar” (I’ll leave it you you to figure out what the actual line is). There’s also a reference to “six hotdogs” – but then again, I may just have a filthy mind. It’s not a bad song as such – its just… boring. It’s got none of the oomph of rock ‘n’ roll, nor any of the soulfulness of doo-wop. It seems just a bit pointless.

Side B

Unfortunately the B-Side, I Almost Lost My Mind, while a title I can definitely relate to is not much cop either – though its definitely better than the A Side.  It’s a cover of an Ivory Joe Hunter (actual real name!) song from 1950 – and the original is far, far better than this effort. It’s another slow ballad, piano-backed with a decent guitar break. Again, as with the lead track, it’s not terrible by any means, there’s just nothing there that really stands up to repeated listenings.

Put these songs up against most of Cochran’s output and they fade into the background. I’ve no idea why anyone thought releasing this 7″ was a good idea, apart from maybe they had run out of things to release. The B Side was actually first recorded in 1956, but as far as I can tell never released in the US, and only appeared in the UK on this 1963 release (and later on a UK compilation album, My Way) – so it wouldn’t surprise me. Frankly, I wouldn’t care if I’d never heard either song again.

Download / Listen – via DivShare (MP3)

Side A – Drive In Show (2:02) [note: my own record is a little warped, so I uploaded a version I have from a compilation album]
Side B – I Almost Lost My Mind (2:33)

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♪ Random Record A Day #4: John’s Children – Desdemona b/w Remember Thomas À Becket (SP, 1967)

January 15, 2010


John’s Children – Desdemona

b/w Remember Thomas À Becket
(SP, 1967, Track / Polydor)

7" single cover

John’s Children (1966-1968) are one of those groups I’d always been aware of as being something of a ‘cult’ (I hate that word) psychedelic-mod-freakbeat band, having often seen them referenced as “influential” and “inspirational” in articles and interviews about music – though mainly their influence lay in their raucous live shows. On a tour of Germany supporting The Who, they managed to out-Who The Who by going a bit mad on stage, resulting in the arrival of the riot squad. They were kicked off the tour and fled back to England. Legend also has it that when Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell saw them for the first time he said, “positively the worst group I’d ever seen”. A few drinks later and, “I’ll sign you”.

Researching them was a joy – but to be honest there’s no way I could do the story justice in a few brief lines here . So, if you’re anything like me, you love a good rock ‘n’ roll story – and therefore I command you to read this, part of which was written by Andy Ellison, one of the members – who among other things says: “Still we were all now exactly the same height, a thing that was very important that year” – which I just love!

However, what John’s Children are perhaps most famous for is being the home of the young Marc Bolan for about 6 months in 1967. Now, I love T-Rex – always have done and am not ashamed of it, nor of my fondness for Glam Rock in general – so I was quite excited when I saw that the lead track, Desdemona,  was written by the electric warrior himself! Even though I did know that at this time Bolan was in his I-wanna-be-a-folky-hippy-like-Donovan phase, and was expecting the worst.

Side A

However, I’m glad to say that there’s nothing particularly Donovanesque about this song at all really. In fact, it’s totally rockin’ and not at all what I expected to hear. I guess I’d call this hard-psychedelia, and to be fair, it took me more than a few listens to really appreciate it. But its infectious – I found myself several times today humming it to myself.

It starts off like its going to be a standard rock ‘n’ roll song, but once the drums and the MASSIVE bass kick in, its a wild ride. It’s all over the place like, but it really works. And it gets bonus points for being banned by the BBC for containing the line “lift up your skirt and fly”. The single was reissued with the line “why do you have to lie”, but still received fuck all airplay.

The lyrics, by the way, are nonsense, but when did that ever matter with Bolan?

Side B

Side B

The B Side instantly loses points for calling him Thomas À Becket – which was not his name! Unless they were referencing this chap that is. However, that minor quibble aside, this is another fine song.

Begins with what sounds like a squealing car, before turning into another bass and tom heavy rocker (with nonsense lyrics, this time not penned by Bolan) . Top stuff.

Listen/ Download – Via Div Share (Mp3)

Side A – Desdemona (2:25)
Side B –  Remember Thomas À Becket (2:20)

Donwload All (Mp3)

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