23 March 2016

The Hinge - The Village Postman/ You'd Better Go Home

Label: RCA
Year of Release: 1968

One more from the bottomless pit of popsike records about ordinary people in small towns or villages toiling away doing their day jobs. Grocer Jack in "Teenage Opera" might have started the ball rolling, but there are tons of others too - The Decision introduced us to "Constable Jones", Cyan to the sweetshop owner Toby, Bulldog Breed to the street corner newspaper salesman, Dr Marigold's Prescription to the nightwatchman... on and on the list goes.

"The Village Postman", far from being a tribute to The Singing Postman aka Allan Smethurst, is a jolly ditty about the trials, tribulations and light-hearted moments of being a hard-working postie close to retirement. "He has to work in all the weathers", the band inform us, in case we'd overlooked that aspect of the role. It bounces and chimes along nicely, the simplicity of the arrangement suiting the lyrical theme well.

The Hinge were a duo consisting of Gerry Levene and Chris Sedgewick. Levene was for some considerable time a legend on the Birmingham gig circuit, being frontman of hard-gigging beat group Gerry Levene and The Avengers who took their act all around the UK, including Liverpool's Cavern Club in the early sixties. Perhaps more significantly, that band had Roy Wood in its ranks at one point, before Wood departed to more fully realise his own ambitions. The Hinge came long after Levene's period with The Avengers drew to a close, and involved a significantly different sound for him, but sadly not one which paid greater commercial dividends.

Following the failure of "The Village Postman", Levene continued his music career, being involved in the band Crossbones who released "Shakin' All Over" on the Penny Farthing label in 1972, and also forming his own publishing and record company Sovereign which remained active until very recently, issuing solo work of his own as well as others. He has also specialised in music management (taking on the accounts of Danny King and Cozy Powell) and dog breeding. Sedgewick's movements are less clear, although it would seem that he continued songwriting for awhile afterwards.

Sadly, Levene passed away on 20th December 2011.

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