22 September 2014

Nicky Scott - Honey Pie/ No More Tomorrows

Label: Pye
Year of Release: 1969

The mania for covering Beatles albums tracks in the sixties is such that I'm genuinely past being surprised at each new discovery I make. If the Fabs hadn't put it out as a single, it would seem that somebody somewhere had their own take ready to go. In this case, step forward Mr Nicky Scott, with your version of "Honey Pie" off "The White Album". That's right, "Honey Pie". Hardly what you'd call a chart-bound sound, although I suppose somebody at Pye must have fancied that its old school music hall arrangements might sell to an older demographic. It didn't, though.

There's not much difference between this and McCartney's version, except Scott's strange Brummie accent at the start. It stays true to the original version, though perhaps adds a tiny bit more recording studio polish to the sound, taking away some of the 78rpm styled reediness of the original. It's still a truly bizarre choice for a single, though, irrespective of any new production flourishes. The truly old-school sound might have seemed more commercial in the era of the Bonzos and the New Vaudeville Band, but as a song this didn't come close to approaching the style or wit of either group, and it's been largely disregarded by most Beatles fans since. 

Nicky Scott had a long history in music prior to the release of this, having previously been discovered by Simon Napier-Bell and paired with the black female singer Diane Ferraz, creating an inter-racial duo which was, in the early sixties, a huge deal on the London gig circuit. Eventually Scott was signed to Immediate Records as a solo artist, and while there put out a couple of folk flavoured releases which are rather good - his version of the Jagger and Richards penned meditation on the pitfalls of hiring prostitutes "Backstreet Girl" is worthy of more than a casual listen. "Honey Pie" seems to have been the first release he attempted after Immediate lost interest, and did little to raise his profile.

Meanwhile, I await a 7" version of "Wild Honey Pie" with interest. There probably is one out there somewhere…


VanceMan said...

I think this single version of "Honey Pie" by Barbra Streisand was trying to be a double a-side event (which was a total non-event): http://barbra-archives.com/record/singles/tin_soldier.html

23 Daves said...

I'd completely forgotten all about that version! I don't think I ever did try to check it out on YouTube either, though I can imagine Barbra handling it more strongly - a bit more akin to the style of "Second Hand Rose", maybe.

Arthur Nibble said...

"Wild Honey Pie" was actually issued as a Beatles B-side in both the USA and Venezuela (fact courtesy of the 45cat website).

I've hated The Rolling Stones since I found out about their sound embargo on the DVD version of the prequel to "Just Good Friends" (they refused to allow copyright permission for the first 12 minutes, most of which included Stones music played at the party of a supposed roadie of the band, so the first 12 minutes of the DVD episode are silent), but you reeled me in - I'd never heard "Backstreet Girl" before and loved it. Nicky Scott's version is probably half as fast again as the original, but I prefer his vocals to Jagger's awkward and over-emphasised attempt.

23 Daves said...

I completely agree with you, Arthur - it's a great cover.

I sympathise with anyone who finds The Stones frustrating as well. Jagger and Richards are the kind of individuals whose work you want to dislike, each has such gaping character flaws. You could even make a case for them being responsible for the worst of FM Rock as well. Nonetheless, there's stuff of theirs I do really enjoy.