Posted tagged ‘The Who’

♪ 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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♪ Random Record A Day #3: The Creation – Making Time (SP, 1966)

January 12, 2010


The Creation – Making Time

b/w Try And Stop Me
SP, 1966, Planet

This cover is from a French EP release featuring both the A and B Sides, also from 1966

Apart from being vaguely aware that I have several of their singles in my collection, The Creation are a band that I previously had no knowledge of whatsoever – so after giving this 7″ a few whirls, it was off on an internet excursion to find out more.  Now I’m going to try and sound like I knew this shit all along…

The Creation (1966 – 68, reformed mid-80s) started out as 60s mod-rockers, then went a bit psychedelic, and after a few line up changes (including Ronnie Wood on guitar, his second band) split up. They reformed in the mid-80s and presumably still gig to this day.

Interestingly, despite receiving decent press in Britain, especially with regard to their live appearances – which saw, allegedly, the first instance of a guitarist playing with a violin bow, along with acts of on-stage arson – they were never particularly successful at home, being more popular in Germany. In fact, the only proper album they released before splitting –  1967’s We Are Paintermen – was only issued in Germany, Holland, France and Sweden. A live album released the following year suffered a similar fate.  They only charted in the British Top 50 twice.

Trivia fans (like me!) will love the fact that in 1996 – thirty years after their debut single – the reformed Creation released an album (Power Surge) on… Creation records. Ahhhh.

So anyway, the music. Well, it turns out Making Time was their debut single, and one of only two hits they had (the other being Painter Man, which I’m pretty sure also resides in my collection somewhere), charting at #49, though getting to #5 in Germany. Musically, this is mod-rock not dissimilar to the Small Faces, The Kinks or The Who of this period (they shared a producer – Shel Talmy – with the Who at this time, so its no surprise). A big rockin’ stop/start riff drives the song, the bass is chugging, it’s got a great Brit-r’n’b vocal, which reminds me of Steve Marriott, a strong chorus, and a tambourine.

Side A

Other than that there’s not really that much else to say about the track, other than that I really like it. See, this mission is paying off already!

The B Side, Try And Stop Me, reminds me even more of the Small Faces than the A, though that could be because a) the drum intro sounds like the opening of All Or Nothing (though predating that by two months) and b) I think all mod-rock sounds like the Small Faces.

Side B

Musically it’s a pleasant enough song – propelled by a heavy bass with a tinny staccato guitar thing going on – which lyrically seems to be about the singer’s quest to “take down” some girl he knows. So either its a revenge song, or its some 60s sex-lingo that I’m ignorant of. I don’t care either way, its a decent song.

Listen / Download – Via DivShare (Mp3)

Side A – Making Time (3:00)
Side B – Try And Stop Me (2:30)

Download All (MP3)

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