8 January 2015

Graffiti - Come Together/ Dear Prudence


Label: Beeb
Year of Release: 1976

I'm enough of a Beatles bore to continue to find the cornucopia of cover versions of their work fascinating. True, most are flawed and a horrible waste of vinyl, but once every so often I stumble on a relatively obscure cut which is actually worthwhile. 

This version of "Come Together", for instance, sounds like The Beatles in a parallel seventies universe. The original was reasonably raw and rugged, but there's a smooth and slithering creepiness here which highlights a sinister side I never sensed in the "Abbey Road" cut. The piano chimes, the guitar wails a new riff which wouldn't sound out of place in an early evening crime drama, and the backing rhythm cooks a tauter, meaner groove. Perhaps more crucially, the changes to the template are subtle rather than dominating, meaning you're nudged closer to what "Come Together" might have become as opposed to listening to a complete reinvention. 

The B-side "Dear Prudence" is less successful, but attempts to psychedelicise the original, adding rumbling analogue synths and vocal effects into the mix. For all its efforts, you can't help but be reminded that Siouxsie and the Banshees did the same to far greater effect in 1983. Still, you can't win them all. 

I'm a bit confused about who Graffiti were. There is still an Iron Mountain, Michigan based covers band operating on the gig circuit going under that name, who boast that they can copy the styles and sounds of any number of popular bands, The Beatles included. It would seem that they are one and the same, but how they came to record a version for "Come Together" for the BBC, who then issued it on their subsidiary label Beeb, is a mystery at the moment. A few enquiries online lead me to believe that an entire album of Beatles covers by the band was planned and then dumped, but all this is lacking what Wikipedia would naggingly refer to as "citation". If anyone has any further clues or even hard facts, I'd love to hear from them.



9 comments:

Billy Smart said...

It might well be the same Graffiti who appeared on ATV's 'New Faces'on 27 April 1974 - their only TV credit, and the edition doesn't survive.

TheRobster said...

I had this single myself as a child. A family friend just gave me a batch of obscure 7" singles and this was one of them. Haven't seen it in decades and your post reminded me about it. I only wish I could offer some more info for you but alas I'm as in the dark as you are.

23 Daves said...

Thanks both.

Billy - that makes some sense. In the 70s, a lot of cabaret and working men's club acts got on to variety shows on the television, and found themselves signed to various light entertainment labels (Yorkshire TV's label York, for example). It's possible that in '76 Graffiti were on a BBC show and this was a spin-off single from that. Trouble is, I know not what.

Arthur Nibble said...

I've always thought Beeb labels looked the busiest. They always seem to have reams of info crammed into the available space, not helped by the large outer border for the prohibitions which shoehorns the details even closer together.

Anonymous said...

I have access to a small amount of paperwork regarding releases on the Beeb imprint, and the single was produced by Colin Thurston, interestingly enough. More information to follow, hopefully - should I find any.

Aleister

23 Daves said...

Thanks Aleister - if anything does turn up on this, please let me know!

Anonymous said...

In 1975 the single ‘Take to the mountains’ was released under the (again embarrassing) name Billy Bates Company, and in 1976 a double A-side single released by BBC Records – two Beatle songs, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Dear Prudence’, under the name Graffiti. Graffiti was, in fact, myself, Colin Thurston, Colin Hewnison (later of Trickster) and Wombles drummer, Morgan Kent. Again, quite a bit of BBC radio airplay on both of these singles, and an absolutely glowing review in the Melody Maker, but no sales. I also came exceedingly close to being part of a BBC television series which would feature me and the band playing songs and being part of other stuff ...but I think the idea fizzled out before it went to air. A life of TV fame snuffed out before it could spark into life.....c’est la vie.


taken from the man himself
http://www.phil-bates.nl/index.php/en/bio-engels

Love That 7'' Thanks Allot!

Abe

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the added information! Tim Worthington's guide to the 7" releases on BBC Record and Tapes "Top of the Box", also has some added information about these tracks, and is well worth a purchase.

Adrian Diz said...

I thought this was the same Graffiti on ABC label produced by Eddie Kramer in 1968...