4 August 2010

The Darwin's Theory - Daytime/ Hosanna

Darwin's Theory - Daytime

Label: Major Minor
Year of Release: 1966

"She just takes me halfway there/ I tried and tried and tired/ I didn't get anywhere".

Why yes, it's yet another moping rock and roll nursery rhyme about some evil woman failing to give a man his conjugal rights.  At the slightly messy, dirty end of rock culture in the sixties, women either featured in lyrics as delightful, sprightly darlings on the dancefloor, or evil hussies who just didn't "give out" often enough.  In its own way this kind of stereotyping was just as offensive and conservative as the kind of stuff going on out in Easy Listening land about finding the perfect housewife.

Still, sentiments aside, "Daytime" is actually a solid piece of early psychedelia.  Supposedly performed by The Darwin's Theory, it's actually French beat combo Les Cinq Gentlemen in disguise for the benefit of the British market.  Radio Caroline boss (and owner of the Major Minor label) Phil Solomon caught them live on a trip to France and was so blown away by their show that he offered them a deal there and then.  He had originally hoped that they would translate one of their tracks "Si Tu Reviens Chez Moi" into English and re-record it, but for whatever reason, this was not to be.  Therefore, all English audiences were ever given was this track, alongside the chaotic, five-mad-bastards-going-berserk-around-a-piano flipside "Hosanna".  I don't know about you readers, but I always like to imagine they're playing a game of musical chairs around the instrument, hence all the audible excitement and huff and puff on the recording.

"Daytime", on the other hand, is a simple piece of Dylanry featuring a mourning organ, repetitive riff, and strangely haunting melody.  Due to Solomon's fingers being in another pirate-shaped pie, it achieved quite a bit of airplay on the good ship Caroline (the first time I ever heard the track was on an old, crackly tape recording of a sixties Caroline show) but this failed to translate into success.  Les Cinq Gentlemen were therefore left to continue with their careers in France, issuing five EPs in the process which are highly sought after by collectors both at home and abroad these days.

3 comments:

Critical1 said...

Damn, this "Daytime" track sure covered a lot of ground in '66. I have four recordings of it from that year so far. The original incarnation appears to have been as Les 5 Gentlemen's "Dis-Nous Dylan," the amusing A-side to that other excellent tune of theirs you mention, "Si Tu Reviens Chez Moi."

My French is non-existent, but a quick Google Translation of the song's chorus "Dis-nous, dis-nous Dylan/Dis-nous dis-nous Donovan" ("Tell us tell us Dylan/Tell us tell us Donovan") suggests it might have been a piss-take on protest singers? Lyrics anyone?

Version two, also by Les 5, was an Italian translation named "Dimme Dylan," this time omitting reference to Donovan. Maybe Italians liked Donovan too much to tease? (I know I do.) Somebody go find that on YouTube and jot down those lyrics too!

The third version, fast emerging as my favorite, was the completely rewritten and somewhat rearranged English version, "Daytime," by the British folk-popsters Hedgehoppers Anonymous. This hasn't hit YouTube yet but it can only be a matter of time.

Completing the circle, Les 5 Gentlemen borrowed the Hedgehopper's English lyrics for their own English-language recutting of the tune, which you were kind enough to post for my stumbling enjoyment this afternoon. That's version four. Oddly, Les 5 don't seem to have gone in for the Hedgehoppers' pop-psych arrangement, reverting back to the more dirgey, lick-heavy folk arrangement they'd originally used on "Dis-nous Dylan."

23 Daves said...

That's interesting stuff. I had no idea that this song had done the rounds to quite such a degree, so thanks for letting me know - I'll keep an eye out for the other versions.

Miles Cheshire said...

I have been looking for this track for about 25 years. For some unknown reason it has stuck in my memory since a school friend bought the single in 1966 and played it to me. I remembered the record label, the title and the name of the band, but nobody I know has ever heard of it. I have searched the internet many times and at last, success. Thank you very much for this and for the download.