22 July 2018

Robb Storme Group - Here Today/ But Cry

Fantastic West Coast styled pop on both sides here, from future Orange Bicycle members

Label: Columbia
Year of Release: 1966

I've bypassed this particular single in the racks on a number of occasions in the past, suspecting it to be little more than an unimaginative, carbon copy of a track off "Pet Sounds". Cover versions - who really needs them, eh?

This is further evidence, if you really needed it, that when it comes to record buying I can be something of a prat. The version of "Here Today" on the A-side is respectful and arguably unadventurous, but propels and kicks the track along determinedly, upping the tempo slightly to suit the English climate it now finds itself in. The chorus in particular clatters along urgently. It's a win-win situation - Beach Boys fans won't feel alienated by it, but listeners after something slightly new will find enough to enjoy. 

It's the flip that's the biggest surprise, though. "But Cry" is a melting pot of styles, from the West Coast jingle-jangle of its guitar melodies and vocal arrangements to the propulsive, driving mod beats. If it's summer and your woman or man has let you down, and you're wearing paisley and beads and just want to sulk in a city park, this shall be your soundtrack. 

While The Robb Storme Group sound like the name of a working man's club band who specialise in rock and roll covers, they had their roots in a band called Robb Storme and The Whispers, a Crouch End (North London) combo who released a number of beat singles on a variety of labels in the early sixties. This was their final effort before they morphed into the Orange Bicycle, who will be a much more familiar group to collectors of psychedelic pop. By this point, you could argue that their metamorphosis was almost complete - the sounds on offer here really aren't wildly different from their later work.

Their line-up was apparently a bit shaky by this point, but it seems to be generally agreed that they consisted of Wilson Malone on drums, Riff Marlowe on lead guitar, Robb Scales aka Robb Storme on vocals, Norman Shapiro on guitar, Chuck Hardy on yet another guitar (this sounds wrong, somehow, but that's what it says in the reference book in front of me...), Gary Hooper on bass, and Jim St Pier on saxophone. 


Anonymous said...

Much better than Beach Boys version in my opinion. Used to see the group regularly at Cafe des Artistes in London and they had a fantastic range of material. Guitarist on this one is Tony Ollard. Btw Rob sadly died earlier this year.

23 Daves said...

I'm really sorry to hear that - I had no idea. His performance here is excellent.

And yes, there are a few people online who argue that this version of "Here Today" is superior to the original - I don't necessarily agree, but I do think it gives the song a more frantic edge. Surprised it wasn't a hit, really.

Anonymous said...

Great David

Thank you so much for this single

Greetings Albert