3 June 2018

Port Authority - When The Love Was Given Out/ Say It Again



"Great dancer! Fuzz guitar!" say the ebay sellers...

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1971

If you're anything like me, which if you're reading this already I suspect you are, you'll often browse ebay's auctions for promising sounding obscurities. While doing so, you'll occasionally notice that the final auction prices for some records you've never heard of slowly creeps up over the months and years, to the extent that you begin to wonder what might be going on. All this excitement and cash-flashing can't be the result of nothing, surely?

"When The Love Was Given Out" is a big case in point for me. My curiosity was tweaked by a chance recommendation of this record by someone, and by auctions referring to it as a "fuzz guitar dancer!!!" which seemed to pump the price up. Chancing upon a copy for a tenner on Discogs recently, I decided to take a gamble. And well...

Either I'm missing something, or it's merely OK. Breezy, brassy, optimistic and with nice bass and guitar work, it's nonetheless hampered slightly by the rather stiff, buttoned-up arrangement, which feels more seventies Radio Two playlist/ Pebble Mill at One than Wigan Casino. There's a credible record hiding in here somewhere, but it's not quite given sufficient freedom to express itself, and I doubt it would get a dancefloor reaction at your local retro soul club. 

As for who they are, Discogs seems to suggest that they were a soul group consisting entirely of United States Navy personnel, but if that's the case, this release is something of an anomaly. Seemingly not issued in the USA, and produced and arranged by UK industry types (including everyone's favourite library music composer John Fiddy) the only feasible explanations on offer are that they were briefly on British shore leave, or they're a different band entirely, probably a session group. Readers, I think our answer is likely to be the latter. And there endeth the mystery. Sorry. Not all crate-digging or auction-mining attempts have to result in success, you know.



4 comments:

Phat Spinner said...

You're not missing anything. It's pleasant UK pop,that's all. Fuzz guitar hardly to the forefront but latched onto as a selling point.
No sound file on Discogs so a punt. Nice demo label and obscure UK pop from 71, nice for collection anyway.

василий канарейкин said...

their records are many on Soulseek

23 Daves said...

Yep. I can't see it going up in value anytime soon, but it's a talking point, I suppose. The volume of Decca singles in the early seventies that seemed to sell next-to-nothing, and which are now hopelessly obscure, is fascinating to me.

Anonymous said...

The b-side is a cover of an album track off the Davy Jones solo LP on Bell. Later done by the Williams Brothers and they performed it when they appeared on a final season Partridge Family episode.