8 October 2014

J.J. Worthington - A Whiter Shade Of Pale/ Riding Down From Bangor

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1969

I've stated the obvious and said it before, so there's probably little point in saying it twice - but "A Whiter Shade of Pale" really was considered a stone-cold classic within a few months of landing, one of those rare rock moments (like "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "A Day In The Life") where a track receives immediate awestruck acclaim and the public affection never really wanes. You might get a few people now who declare the single to be a lot of pretentious nonsense, and if we're talking about the lyrics I might be inclined to join them, but it remains one of the most heavily played records on international airwaves.

That this very easy-going, family friendly, almost baroque version of the track was released a mere two years later is no real surprise, then. It replaces the soulfulness of the original with a subtle, more ponderous delivery, which might work in its favour for some, but I must admit I have my doubts. I can't trace who Worthington was - I suspect he was/is a folk singer or singer-songwriter - but his polite voice turns what was a meltdown over ghostly-faced nuns into a calm if surreal anecdote. The flip "Riding Down From Bangor" is a bit better, at least if you're a jaded city type who enjoys the occasional bit of rural folk whimsy.

As for Worthington, the only other piece of information I can find on him is rather unfortunate. His carelessly titled album "If I Should Touch You" often crops up on internet websites dedicated to terrible or inappropriate album sleeves, and here it is in all its glory. Dearie me, Decca. Sometimes the way your marketed your artists makes me wonder if all those rumours about your offices being filled to the brim with retired Army sergeants waffling on about their "war efforts" were true. What a mistake to make.

1 comment:

CL said...

I agree. Thanks for the info.