4 July 2018

Reupload - Hard Horse - Let It Ride/ Hang Old Freddy

Hard-hitting slice of seventies pop/rock, not far off Calum Bryce's "Lovemaker" in feel

Label: D'Art
Year of Release: 1971

Back in the eighties and nineties psych/ mod record collectors and DJs were horribly picky about seventies singles, leaving many perfectly good bits of beaty or freaky goodness rotting in the remainder bins.  "If it wasn't issued between 1962 - 1969," seemed to be the thinking, "then it probably isn't worth anyone's while".

Most of us have wised up since, realising that while very few examples of pure psych or mod records were issued after the sixties, discs did slide out which kept some of the influences bubbling underneath.  Take this single, for example - beneath the hollered, gravelly, country rock vocals lies an insistent and nagging beat and riff which is stylistically not far off a recognised classic like Calum Bryce's "Lovemaker" and maybe closer still to some of Tom Jones's more dance floor friendly outings.

Hard Horse seem as if they were probably a studio project rather than a proper gigging outfit, but were lead by Paul Thomas who previously had cut singles with the Coventry psych-pop act Peppermint Circus.  Peter Shelley also seems to have been involved in a major capacity here, co-writing and producing "Let It Ride".  Shelley had already had a career acting as a talent scout for Decca records, but by this point had left the organisation to begin work as an independent writer and producer.  This phase of his career was actually a minor blip before he co-created Magnet Records with Michael Levy and wrote their first release in 1973, Alvin Stardust's smash hit "My Coo Ca Choo".  You can just about hear some minor similarities here, but stylistically the two songs are some way apart.  "Let It Ride" has grit in its mouth and damage on its mind, whereas "My Coo Ca Choo" is all tinsel and fizz (though a perfectly good record for it).

The B-side "Hang Old Freddy" is a bit scuffed up (apologies for that) and appears to be a one-take studio spoof of "Hang On Sloopy".  It's safe to say that it was probably a bit of an afterthought. 

As for what became of Paul Thomas - I have no idea. If anyone knows, they should feel free to drop a comment.

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