28 August 2016

Life 'n' Soul - Ode To Billy Joe/ Peacefully Asleep

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1967

The flipside to this single "Peacefully Asleep" was compiled on both the "British Psychedelic Trip" and Rubble series of psychedelic compilation LPs, and remains readily available to this day (you can hear it on Youtube here) - it's a distinctly woozy, strange kind of record where the band delivered strangulated, delirious vocals and added a doomy, disorientating cello line. It shimmers, buzzes and meanders away, never having much of a coherent chorus (unless those "bap-ba-ba-da-bap-ba-ba-da-baaaaah!" moments are supposed to it) but holding your interest through sheer use of atmosphere. 

Interesting, then, that the band really weren't fully paid up members of the UFO Club, but a pop group from Manchester, consisting of Stuart Charles on lead vocals, and John Brennan, Colin Brock, Clem Lee and Andy McCann (I can't find any references to who played what). The A-side is a version of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billy Joe" which makes their usual direction perfectly clear. Taking a choppy, stripped-back acoustic approach to the track, it reduces the level of mystery and intrigue in the original and turns it into something slightly more uptempo. 

One more single would come forth from the group, the equally scarce but actually superior A-side "Here Comes Yesterday Again", which hints a bit more towards their roots performing regularly at the legendary Twisted Wheel club. After that flopped, Decca decided enough was enough. 


CL said...

Love it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the b side is fab. I just acquired the single today.


Jim the Jag