29 May 2016

Bullring - Birmingham Brass Band/ Lady of the Morning Sun

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1970

This is something of a get-together for old friends of "Left and to the Back" we've written about already. Penned by Ken Lewis and John Carter, and performed by Herbie's People under an assumed name, it promises to be a top-notch popsike supergroup. Who could walk past?

In reality, "Birmingham Brass Band" actually features all the involved parties in full-on novelty mode, adopting exaggerated Brummie accents and taking a jaunty skip towards the brass band volunteers office. It's not at all unlikeable and has been touted by some fanzines and websites as being one of the best pieces of popsike around. Certainly, the chirpy toytown elements are all present and correct, but this is arguably closer to Brian and Michael than a Happy Days Toytown Newspaper Smile.

Given a favourable release date and a willing champion on Radio One, it's even possible to imagine this becoming a hit... but it never happened, and presumably everyone involved left The Bullring project at that. Most bizarrely, this even managed to pick up a US release on Jamie Records, though obviously it wasn't a hit there either (and what North Americans made of the Brummie accents on the record is unfortunately undocumented).

Herbie's People were hugely popular on the Midlands gig circuit and split up and reformed numerous times before finally - apparently! - throwing in the towel in 2011. 


VanceMan said...

While I don't think the A side sounds anything like the Beatles, I'm willing to bet to standard American ears in 1970 this sounded like a Sgt. Pepper leftover, and there wouldn't be much distinction to US ears between how the imitation Batles sounded in Yellow Submarine and the Brummie accent. I think, timing wise, this would parallel the Beatles' breakup, so US pick-up likely was a nostalgia move.

23 Daves said...

That makes sense.

The stuff that did/ didn't get licensed in the US and the UK is frequently fascinating. All kinds of USA groups flops were granted UK releases with no feasible demand being present overe here (and vice versa). I suppose much of it just fitted in with the music industry's general "suck it and see" philosophy at the time. Or it may have been down to favours owed to certain managers or individuals at UK/US branches of record companies...