7 February 2013

Reupload - Deep Feeling - Skyline Pigeon/ We've Thrown It All Away

Label: Page One
Year of Release: 1970

This is another release on Larry Page's Page One Records which I include for curiosity value rather than actual musical merit. Elton John and Bernie Taupin were, at this point in their careers, mere fledging songwriters without much of a career to speak of. Deep Feeling, on the other hand, were British rockers in search of a breakthrough.

We've already touched upon Elton John's early career in this blog, and given Argosy's psychedelic pop outing "Imagine" a feature on one of our compilations. Far from his career following a straight, certain line from nobody to somebody, he in actual fact worked on so many records - largely on the sly - that even the biggest fans of his work have enormous difficulties ascertaining what he played on and when.  Essentially a jobbing session muso for many years, he cropped up on the albums of friends, on cheap cover version records found in the budget wire racks at Woolworths, and God knows what else. In fact, if you want to go above God and ask Elton himself, I doubt even he would be able to tell you.

This record's relatively low price on the collector's market (three quid to me - any more than that and I doubt I'd have bothered) is indicative of the fact that most people are convinced of his lack of involvement beyond the songwriting itself in this case, though, and it's not as if the song was any sort of exclusive at the time. His own (superior) version sits happily on his debut "Empty Sky" album.

As for Deep Feeling, they followed Elton on to the DJM label eventually to release a six track album which is apparently highly sought after by prog collectors, although I should stress that I've never heard it myself. "Skyline Pigeon" doesn't hint at that style much at all, being a rather saccharine and chipper cover which doesn't really invest in the song's potential. It's pleasant enough, but it certainly doesn't sound like anything which could or should have been a hit. Still, I doubt Elton was much worried - "Your Song" was just around the corner, and things in his career were about to change enormously.

(This blog entry was originally uploaded in February 2009 - I've nothing to add at the moment).


Anonymous said...

I was amazed to hear this version as I had no idea it existed.

By far the best version of this song that I ever heard was by Guy Darrell, issued on a Pye single in 1968. I believe this preceded Elton's version. You cannot get Darrell's version anywhere at the moment, I've tried. Guy Darrell of course is best remembered for his 1970s hit "I've been hurt".

Anyway - back to being amazed. The vocalist on this single sounds very much like Guy Darrell. Further research on the internet reveals that one of the members of the band, Deep Feeling was John Swail, who had previously gone under the name of Guy Darrell.

If you ever get chance, try to hear Darrell's solo version of this song, it's superb.

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the added information, I wasn't aware of the Guy Darrell connection.

To be brutally honest - and as I'm sure you already gathered - I'm not as keen on this version as Elton's original, but it has become sought-after by some of his fans (though my copy didn't sell for much on ebay when I auctioned it). I've uploaded it here purely because it's something a lot of people are interested in.

I'll keep my ears open for Darrell's solo version.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right, it is a weak version and nowhere near Elton's original. The lead vocal, presumably Darrell, is not always on the note. I was just so surprised to find that he had apparently "metamorphosed" into this band after being Guy Darrell, then resurfaced as Darrell once more for his 70s hit "I've been hurt". However, on looking even further into the past it would seem that "Hurt" was recorded long before it became a hit.

I wonder if Guy Darrell had a thing about Skyline Pigeon, having done it twice within a few years and under different act names.

Not to worry - I love his original, which has at it's core the most beautiful piano arrangement which carries the song beautifully. It got lots of airplay at the time, and I remember buying it in the summer of '68 with two other records that fared not too well either, Sandie Shaw's "Together", easily one of her best songs ever, and Harry Nilson's "Everybody's Talking". Nilson by the way wrote Sandie's song.

Three brilliant tracks that nobody seemed to want at the time, but forever etched into my teenage memory.

Thanks anyway for this little treasure. Strange how things all start to link up.

Karlh1 said...

I've been a friend of John Swail (aka Guy Darrell) since 1960, when we first formed a band which became Guy Darrell and The Midniters. This is indeed him singing with Deep Feeling. Unfortunately he died in Spain on 3rd May this year (2013) and I attended his funeral only yesterday. His solo version of Skyline Pigeon was chosen by his widow, Linda, to be played at the funeral. There's now only one surviving member of Deep Feeling, Derek Elson, who was also present at the funeral.

John Reed said...

Karlh1, I work for Cherry Red Records and am overseeing a CD retrospective of Guy's 1960s recordings. It would be wonderful if we could involve any of Guy's old friends/musicians or family in this project. If you can help, feel free to email me at: johnreed@cherryred.co.uk. Best wishes, John Reed