27 October 2011

Winston's Fumbs - Real Crazy Apartment/ Snow White

Label: RCA
Year of Release: 1967

So far as I'm aware, there are only two sixties singles whose lyrics are heavily focussed on interior design. One is Pregnant Insomnia's brilliant "Wallpaper", a track which gave its name to probably the best homebrew compilation I put together for this blog. The second is this, which is also surely the only rock record to heavily feature the repeated proclamation "Furn-i-ture! WOOO!" I'm not the right age to understand whether this line sounded as absurd at the time of this record's release as it does now, but it perhaps signifies how much design and lifestyle became a focus for many British sixties bands, and most especially any with a modernist agenda.

Jimmy Winston, yer man behind Winston's Fumbs, was unquestionably a man with a mod background, having previously been the keyboard player with The Small Faces. He'd already released one quite good 45 on Decca under the name Winston's Reflections, but he switched to lead guitar for this and sounded every inch the garage equivalent of Jimi Hendrix. "Real Crazy Apartment" is an excitable piece of work, so much so than the line "Take it easy now" could well be Winston addressing himself, shortly before he rattles off a list of things in his friend's apartment he particularly enjoys, including the Shakespeare volumes and the wallpaper. It's almost like Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen on uppers, combined with such a high-tempo, rattling backing that it feels almost beyond gleeful.

Much has also been made of the flip "Snow White" over the years, but to my ears it's the poorer cousin, being a rather metronomic piece of work focussed on the shortcomings of a vain female scenester.

Winston went on to work in theatre, appearing in the musical "Hair", whilst the keyboard player Tony Kaye had rather more success in the progressive monster that was Yes. There was no Fumbs follow-up, but perhaps that's just as well - this would have taken some beating.

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