23 July 2012

Esprit De Corps - Lonely/ Do You Remember Me (Like I Remember You)

Label: Jam

Year of Release: 1973

I featured Esprit De Corps' most well-known single (though that's not saying much) back in October 2011.  If I'd had a copy of this one to hand at the time as well, I've no doubt at all that I'd have uploaded this as part of the very same blog entry, but I didn't.  In fact, I'd never actually heard it before, much less owned it - whilst "If (Would It Turn Out Wrong)" has featured on psychedelic compilations and is perhaps the band's defining statement out there in popsike land, "Lonely" has been almost utterly ignored.

This actually doesn't make a whole heap of sense, for in terms of melodic stylings, studio effects and even the woebegone nature of the performance, you could wriggle a threadworm between the two records.  "Lonely" features the same dramatic vocals and phasing effects that its debut brother did, and is probably the equal of that record - it's a giddy, Sunday afternoon period drama of a record, making a right old fuss about solitary lifestyles.  I personally don't happen to think that any of the band's work is essential or breathtaking, but it certainly has a distinctive style and charm which could have registered with the public.  However, despite the fact that they got a slot on "Top of the Pops" for this record as a new act, it failed to attract sales.  

As I've previously mentioned, the Radio One DJ Mike Read was a member of this band alongside industry types David Mindel, David Ballantyne, Bill Pitt and Alan Tomes.  They were probably his best shot at getting taken seriously as a musician rather than a radio personality, as his efforts here predate his early Radio Luxembourg career by three years.  As we all know, however, it was not to be, and a highly successful career in radio and television broadcasting was his consolation prize.  If "Lonely" had become a minor hit - the most it would have managed, I reckon - you have to wonder if he'd have had a life of going up and down motorways and sleeping in cramped touring vans instead.  A close call, Mike... a very close call indeed.

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