Year of Release: 1972
And just in case you thought that absolutely all the top drawer sixties influenced pop had been compiled somewhere by someone, here's yet another discarded piece of vinyl which is utterly under-valued on the collector's market.
In fairness, "It Takes Too Long" isn't quite the obscurity that you might first suspect. It's had a fairly high profile internet airing already on the seventies obsessed "Purepop" blog, and a quick google reveals quite a bit of cyber-chatter about it elsewhere too. It appears on the surface to be something of a loved record amongst aficionados of the obscure (including me) but nobody can ever get past the first paragraph without mentioning George Harrison, for the pure and simple reason that the A-side is a shameless imitation of everyone's favourite lentil curry eating Fab. Coming across slightly like Chris Bell copping a few riffs from "My Sweet Lord", it's what might have been produced in the soundlabs at Creation Records had Teenage Fanclub spent their time ripping off The Beatles rather than Oasis. This is absolutely no bad thing, but it's not difficult to see why the public rejected this record in 1972, a mere two years after Harrison issued the single this appears to be aping. It's a case of too much nineties post-modernism far too soon. That's a shame in a way, because "It Takes Too Long" has some gorgeous whining guitar fretwork, close vocal harmonies which would elate even the most cynical soul, and a slow, steady build which means the simplicity of the melody itself never grows tiresome. It's a gentle, charming piece of pop which wears its influences very closely on its sleeve, but seems more affectionate, warm and considered than cheeky.
The B-side "Here Comes Summer" does plough its own furrow more successfully, being a close harmony piece of acoustic season pondering, but is unfortunately a lot less interesting as a result, being a breezy, tranquil affair without much of a chorus.
Fresh Air are something of an enigma as well, given that no particular source can agree definitively on whether this lot are the same band who released the Rubble-compiled "Running Wild" in 1969. Given the complete difference in style, vocals, and record labels, and the length of the gaps between each single released, I'd be tempted to nix any suggestions that the performers are the same. Bam Caruso suggested in their liner notes that the band name Fresh Air might have been owned by a music business svengali placing their tunes with whichever session musicians would take them, but in that case the songwriting and production credits do not align in a convincing way (although I have no access to the label information for the third release under that name, "Bye Bye Jane"). If anyone knows the truth about this band, or indeed any band at all operating under this moniker, I'm sure a lot of collectors would be relieved if you could pass on the information.
In the meantime, just enjoy a record which sounds as if it might have been a summer smash in another dimension.
[This blog entry was originally uploaded in June 2011. Since then, I managed to locate another Fresh Air single, "In The Sun", which definitely involves the same individuals as this release. We're still no closer to unveiling the identity of the band, though.]