14 December 2013

The Outer Limits - Dark Side Of The Moon/ Black Boots

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1971

The Outer Limits are no strangers to this blog, having been covered around this time last year on a segment about popsike Christmas records. Having Jeff Christie (of "Yellow River" fame) on lead vocals and having issued one killer 45 on Deram in 1967 ("Just One More Chance") they never really seemed to realise their full potential commercially. 

By 1971 Christie had already gone off to sing about peculiar coloured rivers on hits of his own, so it's not clear if this single contains the remaining line-up of The Outer Limits carrying on regardless, is a studio out-take from before Christie's departure, or another band entirely - but whatever the facts, it's the B-side we're most interested in.  The A-side is a piece of early seventies pop so shiny and plasticky you can almost see your face in it, and while it has a lot of bounce, it also has all the drive, emotion and conviction of a breakfast cereal advert.  It's safe to say that it did not inform the direction of Pink Floyd's seminal album of the same name.

On the other hand, The B-side "Black Boots" is one of those moody instro-groovers you more commonly tend to find on sixties flipsides, but more interestingly still the bass-line hook is nearly note-for-note identical to The Stranglers "Nice 'n' Sleazy".  I doubt Guildford's most terrifying band deliberately stole it, but it is another example (alongside Leatherhead's "Gimme Your Money Please") of how many traces of the men in black could be found in pre-punk recordings.  Maybe Bob Stanley was right when he wrote in his excellent book "Yeah Yeah Yeah - The Story of Modern Pop" that the main thing linking the band to the punk movement is that they seemed like a nasty bunch of bastards.   

Thanks to Planet Mondo for pointing out the riff some time back, and apologies for the pops and crackles on the copy I managed to find.


Anonymous said...

This single is actually by a Ruislip band called The Magic Roundabout who were originally known as the Dave Martin Group. They temporarily split in 1968 and reformed in 1969. The track was cut by the 1969 line up that featured John Elliott (organ) and lead vocals on 'Dark Side of The Moon', John Chinnery (only original member of The Magic Roundabout) on rhythm guitar/vocals, Ian Hollands on lead guitar (who apparently came up with 'Black Boots' but did not get the credit), Ray Brown (bass/vocals) and Roger Willis (drums/vocals). Brown's predecessor was Roger Flavell who played bass on 'Black Boots'. Flavell ended up playing with Christie, which might explain why it came out under the Outer Limits name. The Magic Roundabout split the year before this single came out, probably another reason why they couldn't use the name (also the TV show, which could have caused problems).

Nick Warburton

23 Daves said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Nick - that's really helpful.