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 KLF easy listening comedy garage library music reggae Bill Drummond disco Microdisney eurovision ken howard romo/ new romantic earl brutus mark wirtz animals that swim cover versions Morgan Studios Wales promotional items of a dubious quality bob morgan creation dora hall embassy the bee gees Bam Caruso C86 KPM blessed ethel elton john howard blaikley synthpop Beach Boys Inaura Joe Meek Medicine Head brian bennett john pantry noel edmonds peter cook BBC Birdie Peel Sessions Salad The Critters czech rock British Gas Walham Green East Wapping Steam Beating Carpet Cleaning Rodent and Boggit Exterminating Association pete the plate spinning dog