14 January 2013

The Others - Easy Squeezy/ Somebody Loves You

Label: Disc AZ
Year of Release: 1969

Now that the barrel of UK pop-psych goodies is close to being picked dry, more and more collectors are turning their attention to the European scenes - and no wonder.  Hit records from the period, especially those of a Scandinavian or Spanish origin, are reasonably cheap to come by and frequently of a much higher quality than the remaining dregs available on our home turf, and besides those there are still Euro-obscurities out there which are utter mysteries.  This one, for example.

"Easy Squeezy" was originally recorded in Britain by The Love Children, but this version gives it a bit more of a kick and brings the fuzz guitar to the fore.  The B-side "Somebody Loves You" is arguably better still, consisting of a kicking horn section, pounding drums and Roy Wood styled vocals - both these tracks seem custom-built for the dancefloor, taking simple melodies and equipping them with the necessary welly to meet with approval at your local mod niterie.  "Somebody Loves You" in particular stands up fairly to comparison with the likes of The Outsiders in the USA.

Whilst this record is French, I find it unlikely that The Others stemmed from that nation.  An Irish band called The Others were in operation around the same time, but the audio evidence available doesn't sound like the same act, though I'm happy to be corrected. My guess would be that they were one of many British acts who quit the overcrowded UK scene to operate in mainland Europe instead.  If you can fill in the blanks, please do let me know.

Oh yes, and that mad volume wavering at the end of "Easy Squeezy" is on the original record, it's not me going berserk on my MacBook after one too many Martinis.


Anonymous said...

The roots of the band Die Anderen (The Others or The Different), later to be known as Apocalypse and in the USA as Kannibal Komix, lie in a talent show, the so-called "Beat-Band-Ball", that took place in Kiel, Germany in 1966. This was where Jürgen Drews (lead guitar, vocals) met the members of the winning band Chimes of Freedom Bernd Scheffler (drums, vocals), Enrico Lombardi (bass, vocals) und Gerd Müller (guitar, vocals).
Jürgen Drews was born 02.04.1948 in Schleswig. When he was 14 he became a banjo player in a jazz band called Snirpels and discovered beat music through the cover band Monkeys. After the "Beat-Band-Ball" Drews successfully asked to join Chimes of Freedom as their lead guitarist. After a while their manager decided to change the band's sound and name. A German band should have a German name - this was not typical of the times. The name Die Anderen was chosen and contact with record company Ariola's in-house producer Giorgio Moroder followed. Moroder produced 2 albums and some singles for them. music
However, Die Anderen got the opportunity to play on "Show Chance 67", a ZDF national television show in the section "singing groups with instrumental backing". This raised the band's profile within their record company after which the company were prepared to fulfil all the band's wishes and gave them a blank cheque. Germany's top producers and arrangers were at their disposal together with the best available session musicians and the best studio - Pye Record Studio in London. It was in the Pye studio in July 1968 they started recording four singles, three of which were written by Müller and Lombardi.

With pride the four heroes returned home to Kiel from London, Drew reminisces today, and soon realised that it would be difficult to have a career if they remained as they were - different. They were heralded by creative but broke young filmmakers. They sang in a ZDF produced TV film "Zwischen Beat und Bach" (Between Beat and Bach) and in another ZDF programme they were the choir in the Wagner Opera "Meistersinger".

Their album "Kannibal Komix", released in 1968 on Ariola, was a milestone. The US film producer George Moorse, who was living in Munich at the time, got hold of a copy of the LP. Using the album as a soundtrack he produced the ghost film "Das Haus in Weiß" (The House in White). The film was as chaotic as the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" and as such reflected the times.

The real kick to their career came in Hamburg's Star Club. A group of American managers travelled to Hamburg hoping to sign a German group. They had the choice of Hamburg band Wonderland with ex-Rattle Achim Reichel and a hitherto unknown musician and ex-US Army sergeant organist Les Humphries or "Die Anderen". The boys got their first US record deal. Collosus Records released the band's debut American record under the name "Apocalypse". The second album, a year later was also released in America.

That probably is more info than you need, and then some... But it's true, they definitely were a German band with Jürgen Drews, who's still active as a Schlager Star and the self-proclaimed King of Mallorca, the Spanish Island where millions of fat, drunken Germans spend their holidays each year. Yours again, The Lolly Pope.

23 Daves said...

Good God! Thanks for that information, The Lolly Pope - that's obviously way more than the - er - gaping hole of nothing I came up with.

I'm indebted to you.