Label: Peeping Tom
Year of Release: 1977
Strange Days were a group from the Derby area who, while predominantly acting as a covers band on the local circuit, were a rather more credible proposition than most groups of that ilk. Rather than touring working men's clubs playing uptempo ditties like "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" or Engelbert Humperdinck numbers, they specialised in psychedelia, hard rock and progressive rock, taking on the material of - among others - The Doors (hence the name), Atomic Rooster and Moby Grape. Their solid and leftfield approach earned them support slots with some of the big names of the day, including Status Quo, Brian Auger and Zoot Money.
They weren't averse to performing self-penned material as well, though, and that's where this single comes into play. Issued on the Peeping Tom label, which was affiliated to Coventry's famous Horizon studios, it's two sides of very different musical hues. "Saltash" on the A-side is an organ-driven instrumental with a distinctly proggish feel, and would possibly have felt rather dated by 1977. Nonetheless, it showcases the group's musical abilities and has a persuasive driving style - you can imagine Saxondale powering down the road in his automobile to this one.
The flipside "Another Day", on the other hand, is a frilly, elaborate piece of pop-rock which has more of a late seventies feel to it. A moody air hangs over the busy, skittish nature of the arrangements, and it's actually really rather neat if this is the sort of thing you tend to enjoy.
The line-up consists of Ken Cook on keyboards and vocals, Chris Camm on twin-neck guitar bass and six-string, and Bob Parsloe on drums and vocals. I'm pleased to report that they still appear to be active on the Midlands circuit as a bookable proposition for parties or events. Ken Cook also plays with the group Six Across, while Chris Camm is involved in the group Pugma Ho. There's a Strange Days site here where you can get all the details.
As for the label Peeping Tom... Horizon Studios eventually got heavily involved in the Two Tone story in later years, and really helped to give Coventry music an identity of its own.