15 September 2011

The Bats - Listen To My Heart/ Stop Don't Do It/ Hard To Get Up In The Morning

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1967

"Northern Soul", like Catholicism, is one of the hardest concepts to define, forever snaking its way out of your grip just as soon as you believe you've got the whole affair firmly nailed. Rather as the Vatican appear to sit and reinterpret matters now and then, so too do the divine faithful at the Soul Weekenders up and down the country, leading to some rather rum records landing on official (and unofficial, disputed) discographies. Is Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" a Northern Soul record, for example? Not by my estimation it isn't, but that doesn't seem to have prevented some people from taking that line in the seventies (I have a bootleg repressing of the disc on the "Sound of Soul" label).

Nestling neatly on the Decca compilation "Northern Soul Scene" is a single by this South African band, The Bats (they're not Irish as the liner notes state). It only fits the genre due to its pounding, jogging rhythms, chiming piano lines and finger pops, but whether we're arguing about its standing in the official list or not, it's still a damn fine track. Effervescent, insistent and absolutely loaded to the brim with hooks, it's hard to understand where the chorus starts and the verses begin - listening to this record would inspire movement in even the most dancefloor shy of humans. Sadly, I haven't been able to include a clip of it in full, but it's available to buy on iTunes if you're that way inclined, and also a kindly YouTube user has uploaded it there.

Truth be told, the B-side "Stop Don't Do It" is pretty good in a mod-pop way as well, and it remains a massive mystery why this record didn't chart in the UK. It's pure, absolute pop, being neither ahead of its time in its stylings nor awkward, and the start of a career should have been assured for the band. Sadly, it was not to be.

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1967

So sadly, then, by the tail end of 1967 the game was up, and "It's Hard To Get Up In The Morning" was their final single. This is an entirely different proposition and sounds rather like a slice of bouncy, McCartney inspired whimsy - sweet and pleasant enough, but hardly the barnstormer "Listen To My Heart" is, nor powerful enough to have stood a chance in the charts.

What became of The Bats when this failed to do the business isn't clear to me, but if anyone has any information, please come forward. They deserve masses of recognition for their one club classic at least.


Anonymous said...

These are the South African Bats, not the Irish band.

SA Bats

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the correction - my sources "Tapestry of Delights" and the Decca Northern Soul liner notes both had these records pegged as the work of the Irish band, whereas somebody on YouTube had them tagged as Saffie. I sided with the printed word over the net believing that the two different official sources must have at least done some research on this!

I'll correct the entry accordingly. It's not been a good week for on-blog cock-ups, this one.

Anonymous said...

I heard IT'S HARD TO GET UP IN THE MORNING in the 60s, and have been trying to track it down ever since !
So many thanks to whoever uploaded it !

garagekings said...

I am totally confused by the origin of The Bats!

That Irish Rock address given by Anonymous shows the Irish band to be comprised of Jorman, Dunning, Ditchfield and Eckstein. It also says that the South African band released 3 singles on UK Decca.

Fine, except that the writers on both sides of the classic Decca 45 "Listen to My Heart/Stop, Don't Do It", supposedly by the South African Bats, are shown as Eckstein, Dunning, Jorman and Ditchfield!!


Jeff in Sydney