3 July 2010

Barry Mason - Over the Hills and Far Away

Barry Mason - Over the Hills and Far Away

Label: Deram
Year of Release: 1966

Yet another example of a psychedelic-styled single from an unlikely source, Barry Mason was (or, it could be argued, is) a legendary songwriter whose canon couldn't be less paisley-coloured if it tried. "Delilah" was arguably his most well-known hit globally, but then it would rather rude if we ignored "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" for Edison Lighthouse and "The Last Waltz" for Engelbert Humperdinck, both of which would give that slice of melodrama a run for its money.

This single was his attempt to break out alone as an artist in his own right, with a little help from The Yardbirds' Paul Samwell-Smith. Although this is an enormous collector's item, I have to say that I've never been too sure what to make of it - the simultaneously epic and droning nature of the beast puts me in mind of many a daring flop Eastern European Eurovision entry rather than any sort of "scene, man". Despite this, there's no question that it's a very strange record, and one which proved to be one of Mr Mason's misfires. It failed to chart, and he appeared to give up on the idea of becoming a star shortly afterwards, watching instead as other people sold millions of copies of his tunes. I'm sure the failure of this disc doesn't keep him awake at night.


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