22 June 2014

The Bruisers - Blue Girl/ Don't Cry

Label: Parlophone
Year of Release: 1963

Keen readers of "Left and to the Back" will recall that only last month I mentioned a songwriter and performer called Peter Lee Stirling. His sixties run of recordings didn't really exercise many record store cash registers - though he did at least manage to write "I Belong", which finished second in the Eurovision Song Contest when Kathy Kirby performed it in 1965 - but he obtained multi-million success with the international hit "Beautiful Sunday" recorded under the name Daniel Boone in 1972. 

Way before such riches fell from the heavens, though, he was the guitarist and vocalist with Tommy Bruce's backing group The Bruisers (previously known as The Beachcombers). Hailing from Birmingham, The Bruisers came within a whisker of major success with this single which hovered around the lower reaches of the Top 40 for several weeks in 1963, eventually only managing to climb as high as the number 31 slot.  It could easily have performed better - with its wailing harmonica, close vocal harmonies and firm, precise beat, this was really Merseybeat in all but location and therefore name. Obviously influenced by the Fab Four but none the worse for it, "Blue Girl" scored them an appearance on Ready Steady Go where they also performed their follow-up single "Your Turn To Cry". Sadly, it wasn't their turn to have a bigger hit - it completely failed, and they returned to being Tommy Bruce's backing group for a couple of other singles before disappearing from the scene altogether.

So far as "Blue Girl" is concerned, the general lack of discussion around what was actually a minor sixties hit at one of the most important points in British pop music history is odd. Had it shifted reasonable units in the USA as well, one can imagine that it might occupy at least a footnote in Beat history - as things stand, it was a record I was oblivious to until embarrassingly recently. 

You'll note from the label scans above that Flashback Records in London get a free plug due to their policy of plastering price tags right across the labels of 7" singles. The Islington branch is actually one of my favourite record stores in Britain, and it might even go on to become my actual favourite if they dispense with this policy - as soon as you try to peel the sticker off, the label usually tears. Vandalism, I call it. 

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