19 May 2011

Southern Sound - Just The Same As You

Southern Sound - Just The Same As You

Label: Columbia
Year of Release: 1966

Southern Sound were just one of many sixties bands who released one extremely interesting single before the record label seemingly told them "No more - your record didn't sell and this isn't working.  Back to the pub circuit with you".

Unlike so many of those one release wonders, Southern Sound were an abrasive mod band from whom further releases would have been welcome.  "Just The Same As You" is, in itself, impressive - all shimmering yet abrasive guitar work, defiant lyrics about living the high life on the dole (way before Wham! had the same idea but made it sound less exciting) and a slowly building menace.  Like a number of mod discs, this is almost punk before its time both in delivery and message, both the band and their audience being made to sound like vampiric club-dwelling outcasts.  When they sing "We're just the same as you" it doesn't sound reassuring so much as daring the audience to disagree.

The flip side "I Don't Wanna Go" is also bloody-minded, and almost psychedelic in a Joe Meek-esque way (although he had nothing to do with the release).  A hollow, minimal arrangement places thundering drums not far behind the sneering rock and roll vocals in the mix.  Pop art?  Not 'arf!

For a 1966 release this is actually quite progressive stuff, but only one member of the band (so far as I'm aware) Robbie Blunt went on to any success, working in Robert Plant's band and also playing with Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians.  That kind of material is a far cry from this.


Mr Pinkwhistle said...

A brilliant double-sider, both sonically and lyrically, which still have resonance today. As you say, we could have done with at least another half dozen singles in this vein. For me, Robbie Blunt also did some fine work in Bronco, Silverhead and various line-ups with Stan Webb. All more interesting than the studio polish of his later contributions to Robert Plant and Edie Brickell - although I'm sure I did see him play live with Plant where he was outstanding. But nothing really to equal the economical punch and snarl of this record.

23 Daves said...

I'll try to track those bands down, Mr Pinkwhistle. As for Robert Plant, he did seem to have an incredibly good taste in both musicians and obscure psych/ mod outfits - I'm sure it's him who is a huge fan of Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera (and rightly so).