17 April 2010

Phil Brady and The Ranch Set - Please Come Back


Label: Go
Year of Release: 1967

First, a disclaimer - sometimes I feel obliged to upload things not because I necessarily feel that they're great, odd, groundbreaking, interestingly awful or even historically relevant, but because I know there are several people online who have spent years wondering what they sound like. I know that feeling only too well. You browse through a label's sixties back catalogue, spy the name of an artist who is utterly unfamiliar to you, and you want to hear it. It doesn't matter that you've been told it's not worth worrying about, you have to sample it for yourself. And it would be so, so rude to deny you good people the chance to scratch that particular itch in this instance.

Records on the "Go" label, or its sister operation "Strike", are quite highly sought after by gap-plugging sixties collectors, mostly because it's an early example of a British cottage indie label. This curiosity has never been sated by the fact that almost all of the label's output is actually middling fare, consisting primarily of tracks which were never hits because they never had any particular right to be. Had they been operational in any other decade, it's fairly unlikely we'd even be discussing them right now, and they'd probably be consigned to the same 50p curio-bin that releases on D'Art (a seventies indie label), Plastic Speech (eighties) or Rotator Records (nineties) are now. The sixties, however, are deemed much too important for anything scarce to be entirely ignored - thus this entry has been born.

I can't dig up any meaningful information about Phil Brady & The Ranch Set anywhere, beyond the fact that they were a UK-based Country Rock outfit. "Please Come Back" is a trotting, twanging little thang with rich-as-Bisto vocals which is - and I'm conscious of the fact that when I'm slightly indifferent I use this word far too much - pleasant. The chorus is riddled with some interesting Joe Meek-esque echoes, which is curious when you consider the parallels between the go-it-alone operations of Go/ Strike and his own production work, but most of the rest isn't startling to the ears, sounding like a standard live band run-through of a toe-tapping ditty.

Lovers of authentic Country music frequently dis British country records for striving to sound like the real thing, but making fundamental errors in their arrangements which give away their country of birth far too easily. I'm absolutely no expert on the genre, but that definitely sounds like the case here - Phil Brady and His Ranch Set (what ranch had they worked on, I wonder?) so badly want to sound American that this borders on pastiche. I have to admit that this is one of the track's strengths for me - I do find the winks and nods to the range life quite charming, especially as they were probably from Wembley or somewhere. Still though, this is hardly worth bidding a ton of money on e-bay for, and I'd strongly advise you good people not to do so.


Anonymous said...

Phil Brady and the Ranchers were actually a liverpool based outfit and released a few albums as well as singles, Phil was a friend of my father and travelled down south (kent essex and london)on numerous occasions to play for him at the various music houses my father managed.

23 Daves said...

Well, that's several hundred miles away from Wembley, but an equally unlikely place for a country band to hail from, it has to be said. Thanks for the tip-off, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Phil is still making Music for fun in the area of Mazarrón (spain) with a small combo, his voice is better than ever.

Anonymous said...

holee molee!!!

a crate - diggers worst nightmare

Anonymous said...

My uncle Bob frost was the drummer in the band phil brady and the ranchers. they were a liverpool based band in merseyside. R.I.P uncle bob xx

pickwortha@gmail.com said...

Hi Phil,

We have met here in Mazarron and I would like to get in touch with you. My name is Tony and you can contact me at pickwortha@gmail.com. This is not a joke I have a playing proposition for you.

Anonymous said...


You'll actually be surprised to know that Liverpool actually had a long and healthy Country music scene.
So much so, for a long time Liverpool was the go-to place in the UK for Country music and garnered the nickname 'Nashville of the North'.

While everyone knows about the Merseybeat in the 60s, the Country music scene flourished at the same time though not to the same level of national success, but it the genres popularity predated (early 50s) and outlived the Merseybeat scene.