14 November 2011

Fox - Mr Carpenter/ Seek and You Find

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1968

As a friend of mine wisely observed a couple of weeks ago, most psychedelic pop records do not make for good DJ'ing material - all that whimsy, introspection and feyness seldom leads to people shaking some action on the dancefloor. As with all genres, however, crossover records exist, and this is one of them.

Issued in 1968 just as the summer of love was beginning to seem a bit passe, "Mr. Carpenter" makes up for that by having a great fat bouncing groove going on, as well as some repetitive and nagging (if rather meaningless) lyrics. "Hey Mr Carpenter, won't you come on round and mend the door?" the band ask urgently, then follow it up with "Hey Mr Geetar-man, would you play me a song, I'm feeling down?". It's highly unlikely all these nagging favours would come to anything if the requests didn't come backed by a buzzing sitar riff, a marvellous psychedelic guitar breakdown, and some lovely stomping rhythms. Frankly, after three minutes of this I'd happily act as the band's general maintenance man. It's a gleeful soundtrack to a Saturday night, if lacking in the pseudo-profundity of a lot of its paisley painted brothers and sisters - but its poppy dumbness works endlessly in its favour.

The identity of The Fox is a mystery. They're certainly not the same Fox who signed to GTO in the seventies, and nor are they the same sixties band who issued the brilliantly titled LP "For Fox Sake". Nonetheless, rumours abound that this release features Dave Mason of Traffic on sitar, and it was produced by John Goodison who later got involved with songwriting for various glam rock bands including Mud (clearly he was getting a bit of stomping practice in early with this one). If anyone has the full lowdown on the band, please let me know. Otherwise, I may just assume that they were a studio based creation.

And yes, I really can't resist saying it - the lyrics to this are similar to Vic Reeves' "Oh Mr Songwriter" in places, aren't they? I highly doubt the man ever heard it, though.


fairydust said...

this single came out in april '68
and it was a guy called 'Winston G'
who recorded it with a backing group
which included 'Top Topham'.
Winston's real name was Gawke or Gorke, he was born in India in 1944
but raised in London and he already had made 5 records between 1965 -
67, all credited to 'Winston G' or
'Winston G & the wicked'
...and yes, you're right: Dave
Mason played sitar on this one

23 Daves said...

Thanks so much for all the new information on both this and the other entries, Fairydust - it's really appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much. Enjoying all of these psych tracks!