2 June 2010

One Hit Wonders #8 - The Young Idea - With A Little Help From My Friends

Young Idea - With A Little Help From My Friends

Label: Columbia
Year of Release: 1967

Shall I just tag this as "Beatles cover", "one hit wonder" and "bland" and wander off, with no explanations offered to the lot of you? Surely there are moments when a few flippant tags say far more than a rambling, 500 word analysis ever could?

Well actually, no, not in this case. True, the A-side, which climbed to number ten in 1967 - and seems to have been remembered by very few people since - is the usual load of old opportunistic gash, adding nothing to the original Beatles version and in fact probably subtracting a great deal. There is virtually nothing which can be said in its favour, and as a cultural artifact it should be positioned somewhere near a "Top of the Pops" budget album in the general league table of worthiness.

Nonetheless, Tony Cox and Douglas MacRea-Brown - the duo behind this record - were actually solid songwriters in their own right, and its the B-side we're really interested in here. "Colours of Darkness" later loaned its name to a "Rubble" psychedelic compilation album, but curiously wasn't featured in the series itself. It would have been sat at home happily amongst the other tracks, however - there's a brooding, orchestral backed moodiness to the track and a hypnotic, harp-plucked riff which repeats at regular intervals to a bleary-eyed, tranquil effect. Had this been released by Kaleidoscope, there's a chance we'd still be discussing it endlessly. As the arse-end of a Beatles cover performed by a duo whose work has largely been ignored until very recently, it hasn't enjoyed that attention at all. I predict that will change.

Revola Records have been kind enough to reissue The Young Ideas album "With A Little Help From My Friends" on CD and mp3 formats, meaning you can download the track from iTunes if you feel so inclined. I've included brief snippets of both tracks below in the meantime. You won't want to hear more than a bit of one of them in any case.


Anonymous said...

If it had been mixed a little more sympathetically, Friends might have sounded better but I don't think you can do a lot with colours, don't like the sound but maybe the lyrics are OK.

23 Daves said...

That's interesting, Mike. I had a few problems transferring this from vinyl, so I'm now wondering if I've given "Colours" a bit of an unflattering representation.

It could just be me, though. I really find "Colours" captivating, but I can hear that it might fall into the category of "dirge" for people who really don't go for that kind of atmospheric repetition. Listening again, to me it doesn't sound as good as Scott Walker's material on "Scott 4", but melodically it seems to take a similar approach. I'm just a sucker for that kind of densely arranged simplicity, really.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to say it was your fault :) I had a listen again and no, it doens't work for me but that's what makes mucic so good because it a personal thing.