19 January 2011

Back Street Band - This Ain't The Road (b/w "She's Clean")

Back Street Band - This Ain't The Road

Label: Ember
Year of Release: 1970

Well, it would seem that first impressions can be incredibly misleading - I had assumed that the Mike Berry behind the production of this single was the same Mike Berry behind the tribute to Buddy Holly and of "Are You Being Served?" fame, but apparently it's an entirely different songwriter and producer who has been covered in great depth over at the Purepop blog.

"This is the Road" is one of many late sixties/ early seventies singles which took the Lennon blueprint of creating a slogan-driven, foot-stomping song which tries to bulldoze you into submission with its incessant repetition.  It actually manages to be a bit more commercial and perhaps almost as effective as a lot of early Lennon singles (and certainly more interesting than "Cold Turkey") and as such has been put on a few sixties collectors want lists.  There's an anthemic quality to it which also isn't terribly shy of the work of the Gallagher brothers, two other Beatles imitators who, had they been around during the seventies, might have been tagged with the "late period popsike" description on a few occasions.

Oddly for a flop record during this period, the single was issued twice by Ember, once in November 1969 when it was backed with "Daybreak", then again in July 1970 as a re-recorded version with "She's Clean" on the flip side this time.  My version is the latter one, and it's clear that somebody at the record label thought that this was an absolute, guaranteed hit single, and perhaps considered the November failure of the record as an example of some solid gold goodness getting lost in the pre-Christmas market.  Whichever executive made the decision to re-issue the record must have been sorely disappointed when it failed for a second time, and the Back Street Band were seemingly not afforded any further chances in the studio.


Robin Wills said...

Just to point out. This is not the same Mike Berry. This Mike Berry is th eone who worked for Apple Publishing and Sparta Florida and the4 guy beind Ning, U.K Jones, One Hit a "Mike Berry" search on Purepop.

23 Daves said...

Eesh... Thanks so much for pointing this error out! This was a very rush-written entry for me, and about my only excuse is that I started a new job this week, so I haven't been particularly focussed on other matters.

I've now corrected the entry and have included a link back to your blog so anyone who is curious to find out more about his production work can do so. (It also begs the question of how the hell I missed this, but I think some of your earliest Berry entries pre-date my introduction to PurePop).

Robin Wills said... just gave me an idea. My next review will be the "are you being served" Mike Berry...just to confuse things. A killer cover of Hard Times from ROCKS most impressively...All the best

Bass Dep said...

Norm Bellis. I played bass and guitar on THIS AINT THE ROAD. I also wrote 'B' side DAYBREAK on the first release.
I used a de-tuned Gibson Les Paul to track the bass line. Recorded at Radio Luxembourg studio, Hertford Street, London W!. Engineer was Pete Hoskins
My E: