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