1 July 2018

Arthur's Mother - On The Dole/ Butterfly

Joyous folk-rock A-side backed by slightly psychedelic flip

Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1971

John Bryant has featured on this blog a number of times, and perhaps unsurprisingly so. Despite his rather hitless career from the mid-sixties onwards, he nonetheless released a constant stream of singles throughout that decade and the seventies. None of these records really improved his fortunes any, and his resilience is certainly something to be admired.

This track was given not one but two releases by Polydor, this being the first outing under the group name of Arthur's Mother. While it seems doubtful that this was much of a proper, touring band, the line-up apparently consisted of Bryant on vocals and guitar with Arthur Kitchener on keyboards, Graham Deakin on drums, and Mike Wedgewood on brace. On its second issue, the group name was dropped and the single was credited to Bryant alone.

The A-side is a storming, stomping hoe-down celebrating coming off the dole to get a job washing dishes in a restaurant. A humble thing to do laps of honour about, perhaps, but one which is likely to strike a familiar chord with anyone who has been broke and jobless for a long period of time. The track is surprisingly explosive, and very atypical of the rest of Bryant's output.

The B-side doesn't seem to have involved the group much at all and sounds more like it. In fact, "Butterfly" sounds as if it could have been released in the previous decade, being a slice of tranquil acoustic metaphorical contemplation about the wonder of butterflies. That it's not yet been placed on to some psych compilation is surprising. It's a very carefully arranged and well performed composition, which sounds immensely "summer of love". 


Doctor Gaz said...

your 1971 specialist correspondent here. This record had a surprising amount of radio plays (I remember it well)favoured by RNI among others. It was quite usual for Polydor singles to be picked up by Dutch DJ's back then.

23 Daves said...

That would possibly explain the re-release, Gaz, which does seem baffling otherwise. Also, this did seem to get issued in a number of other European countries, and John Bryant singles generally didn't.