16 February 2012

Crazy Elephant - Sunshine Red Wine


Label: Major Minor
Year of Release: 1969


We're back in the land of the sixties studio-created group, folks, although the background information given about this bunch at the time was perhaps more imaginative than usual. After they were put together by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz of Super K Productions in the USA, they were promoted in Cash Box magazine as being a group of Welsh coal miners. A wide variety of musicians passed through their ranks, including Kevin Godley of future stars 10cc, although it should be noted that he definitely does not appear anywhere on this recording.

The name of Crazy Elephant was really sustained by the minor transatlantic hit "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'", which hit number 12 in both the USA and the UK in 1969. Once that had produced a few pounds and dollars, the British label Major Minor and the American label Bell kept the records coming in the hope that use of the name would produce another chartbuster. Naturally, this single failed utterly (reaching number 104 in the USA and not even registering in the UK charts) but there's perhaps no good reason why it should have done. "Sunshine Red Wine" is no less pounding and insistent than "Gimme Gimme", and in fact even has a blasting horn section which Rocket From The Crypt would have been pleased to have appearing on one of their records. Crazy Elephant may have been ostensibly regarded as a "bubblegum" group, but there's a roughness to this track which moves it far away from the likes of "Simon Says". Raw blue-eyed soul vocals combine with pounding rhythms to create something which sounded like the natural continuation of the American garage scene, with some of the imperfections scraped away.

After their final single "Landrover" failed in 1970, the name fell into disuse and has, to the best of my knowledge, never been revived.

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