26 April 2017

Us Folk - Funny Old World/ Dives



Label: Eyemark
Year of Release: 1965

Eyemark was a peculiar and very small sixties label which appeared to have no coherent identity to speak of  - while initially they focused on the folk and Christian markets, they eventually took on beat pop, the psychedelic pop of the Purple Barrier (aka the Barrier) and, still more peculiarly, recorded highlights of steam train journeys. Perhaps their oddest and most celebrated release is the infamous Queens Park Rangers Supporters song "Supporters Support Us" which is just a psychedelic freakout with football chanting attached, as heard on Danny Baker's radio show.

There were no mindblowing surprises in store for this, their debut release, though. "Funny Old World" is essentially naive, socially conscious folk music - and certainly not a variation on "football's a funny old game" - with a heavy bathroom echo on the vocals. Acoustic, skeletal and with only the odd drum thump included as a slight concession to the folk-rock trends of the day, it's a sweet little single with a simple message, and it's delivered in a professional way. 

The flipside "Dives" apparently won the Christian Aid folk and beat competition in 1965, which would have made it top choice for the A-side, one would have thought... but Eyemark buried it. It's a more ambitious, jazzy arrangement, but it does sound exactly like you'd imagine a charity folk and beat contest winner to sound; it tries to swing, but it's as stiff as a church spire. 

I have no idea who Us Folk were, but they seem to have connections to (or possibly actually are) the West Eleven Seven, a Notting Hill based bunch of Christian folkies who also worked with the singer Sydney Carter. They apparently appeared on BBC Television during the religious programme "Seeing and Believing" in 1965. An EP of their tracks, "Notting Hill Born" seems to command some interestingly high prices online these days, whereas "Funny Old World" doesn't.



4 comments:

Timmy said...

Both sides are real cool. "Dives" sounds very much like a Bonzo Dog Band type song.....

23 Daves said...

Mmmm... it's got a very snarky, satirical feel to it. Stanshall would have thrown a lot more absurdity into the mix, though.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, anyway! It seems to be picking up a bit more appreciation than I'd have gambled on.

Timmy said...

You wouldn't happen to know what became of that wonderful blog: "Lord Of The Boot Sale", would you?

23 Daves said...

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Timmy, but the blog was taken down.