22 March 2015

Juan and Junior - The Chase/ Nothing

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1967

Anyone who enjoys rummaging around boot sales and second hand stores for largely unheard sixties records could do worse than pick up some sounds from continental Europe. The British charts unfairly locked out all manner of brilliant overseas artists, and even when a band like Los Bravos did break through with a single like "Black Is Black", the rest of their output was cruelly and unjustly ignored ("Bring A Little Lovin'" in particular sounds as if it should be have been a huge top three hit).

Juan and Junior are another case in point. Both were ex-members of the rather good Spanish beat combo Los Brincos, and while that group did enjoy some success in their home country, they had even more chart hits and plaudits in their reduced duo form. One single of theirs, Anduriña, was so admired by Pablo Picasso that it moved him to contribute an etching to use on their record sleeve.

Both went to Britain for an extended trip in 1967 to record some tracks in English and aim to break one of the more unforgiving markets. Naturally, they failed miserably. Their two singles "The Chase" and "To Girls" were not hits, and CBS had no interest in trying further. A pity, as "The Chase" in particular demonstrates songwriting suss and a buoyant, brassy, confident delivery. Its pure pop to its bones, but so bursting with cheer and sunshine that it's impossible not to be impressed. Far better than a great many of the frankly awful UK acts CBS were chancing recording budgets on at this stage, one can only conclude that Juan and Junior were cursed by the fact that they had no real time to develop a big enough fanbase over here to push the single over the red line and into the charts.

In any case, the pair would split in 1968 after a disagreement caused by Junior attempting a vocal retake of Juan's work while he was out of the studio. Hissy fits were thrown, solo careers beckoned, and Britain would never really see either artist again individually or otherwise.

1 comment:

lester said...

Off to Spain soon myself so will be sifting through the thrift shops, markets and bargain bins looking for some additions to the collection if the wife doesn't notice. I will always buy any european 7", more often for the picture sleeve than for the knowledge of the music enclosed.