3 December 2008

Eddy Phillips - Limbo Jimbo (B/W Change My Ways)

Eddy Phillips - Limbo Jimbo

Label: Charisma
Year of Release: 1976


We haven't had too many examples of singles on this blog which should be filed under the section "You Couldn't Get Away With It Nowadays (and perhaps that's just as well)". Of the few we've had that have felt uncomfortably iffy, none of them have been by a respected cult star, so let's all hold hands together as we break new ground with this particular obscurity, because it's a long way down.

Before I start explaining the content of the single, I may as well begin by saying that I'm a fan of The Creation and think that the bulk of their sixties recorded output deserves the respect it receives from aficiandos. Whilst fans of obscure sixties garage and psychedelia can sometimes be a little too free with their praise, using superlatives to describe any number of mediocre flops, The Creation really should have broken through. Any band capable of recording "Making Time" and "How Does It Feel to Feel" has already earned a well-deserved mention in the rock history books so far as I'm concerned, and there the argument can rest.

Despite the above, when lead guitarist Eddy Phillips tried to launch his solo career on the world in 1976, surely nobody could have been expecting this. Utilising riffs from The Creation's sole hit "Painter Man", "Limbo Jimbo" tells a tale of Jamaican immigration which is borderline offensive to say the least. "He got in trouble with the law", sings Eddy in a fake accent, describing Jimbo's arrival in Britain, "He limbo'ed under a ladies door". I don't have any statistics for what the crime rates were in Britain for Jamaican males limboing their way into ladies quarters without permission, but I'd be willing to bet it wasn't that much of a problem. We'd surely have heard about it.

Further stereotypes and cliches abound, and we are told towards the end of the sorry tale that Jimbo wants to return to Jamaica to the nice weather and (most mysteriously of all) "DA TORNADOES!"

Anybody expecting a blistering piece of mod pop is going to be very disappointed indeed by this one, as it's closer to in style to Typically Tropical than The Creation, and Eddy Phillips must regularly thank his lucky stars it was never a hit - his band's reappraisal might otherwise never have happened in the eighties. The flip side "Change My Ways" is a piece of country-tinged rock that sounds like the sort of thing you'd have expected him to return with after spending so long away - the A side seems to be mysteriously overlooked by people writing about the man.

For what it's worth, I doubt the single is meant to be malicious, and we can probably just about get away with referring to it as "dated kitsch" and moving swiftly on.

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