6 June 2008

Moving Finger - Pain of My Misfortune


Label: Mercury
Year of Release: 1968

Another sixties B-side I'm afraid, folks... but then again, this is something of a bottomless well to draw from.

I'm afraid to say that the A-side of this disc, "Jeremy The Lamp", remains unheard by me, though by all accounts apparently it's quite average and deserved to flop. As was often the case in the sixties, however, the record label allowed the band to experiment with their sound on the flip, and the results were considerably more satisfactory. The Moving Finger were actually a finger-poppin' mod/ R&B band with a hard-edged, abrasive sound. Hailing from Norwich, they covered soul classics with a snarl, and were popular on the pill-headed club circuit in Soho.

Like most bands of their ilk, though, they didn't cross over to the mainstream. All these facts make "Pain of my Misfortune" a spectacularly unorthodox piece of work. It barely has a chorus. It certainly doesn't have a "good driving beat". It just meanders moodily, as the soul vocals passionately howl "darkness fills my eyes with colours" and "My hands are wet with perspiration/ will my consciousness regain?". "It's A DREAM!" the lead singer assures us in a voice of panic later on, but I'm not so sure. It sounds like a bad trip to me. Itchycoo Park this ain't.

An awful amount of cash appears to have been spent on this for a B-side as well, and rumours abound that it was originally supposed to have been the lead track. A full orchestra provides an eerie, rich backing to the haunting organ. At the tail end of the track, the orchestra circles in conclusion through the fade-out, like a pilot waiting for the fog to clear before landing his plane on the runway. To all intents and purposes, this is The Walker Brothers on a bum trip, except Scott would never have condoned that kind of hippy thing. And it doesn't sell on ebay for a hundred quid a time for no reason (even though I'm aware plenty of things do). (sharebee seems to be acting up today...)


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Martin said...

Damn. I really want the full lyrics sheet for this one.