8 August 2008
Barnaby Rudge - Joe, Organ & Co
Year of Release: 1968
On the last Beatles cover versions update, I briefly mentioned the Morgan Studios in North London and the tight circles of talent that operated in that environment. Barnaby Rudge is yet another Morgan "project", in this case a cockney hippy character created by studio hands Wil Malone and Danny Beckerman.
Sounding for all the world like a Deram-era David Bowie single, "Joe, Organ & Co" is really just a curious novelty track with a slightly melancholy edge. Focussing on the adventures of an organ grinder and his monkey, it is a simple piece punctuated by sound effects and undercut by a slightly downbeat lyric, the entire package reflecting the child-like nature of a lot of vaguely psychedelic pop of the period.
Despite plugs on several record stations (where Wil Malone was on occasion interviewed in character) the single wasn't a hit. Wil would later have more success in the nineties, working on the string arrangements for Massive Attack and The Verve - this is such a far cry from the style of those artists that it's hard to even make a connection, although I for one would love to hear Richard Ashcroft's cover version of this ditty.
I've included the B-side "Railway Jim" here for reference as well, a sprightly piece of nonsense which borders on irritating. Sadly, I don't have any access to the numerous Barnaby Rudge tracks which were apparently left in "the can" (as they say) although I find it hard to imagine how a whole album of this material could work.
sixties seventies eighties novelty nineties psychedelia The Beatles glam rock one hit wonders northern soul easy listening garage reggae KLF library music comedy Bill Drummond disco ken howard Microdisney eurovision romo/ new romantic cover versions earl brutus mark wirtz synthpop Wales animals that swim Morgan Studios creation dora hall embassy promotional items of a dubious quality C86 bob morgan elton john howard blaikley the bee gees BBC Bam Caruso Beach Boys KPM blessed ethel john pantry Inaura Joe Meek Medicine Head The Critters brian bennett noel edmonds peter cook Birdie British Gas Peel Sessions Salad czech rock Walham Green East Wapping Steam Beating Carpet Cleaning Rodent and Boggit Exterminating Association pete the plate spinning dog