24 November 2013

Hard Horse - Let It Ride/ Hang Old Freddy

Label: D'Art
Year of Release: 1971

Back in the eighties and nineties psych/ mod record collectors and DJs were horribly picky about seventies singles, leaving many perfectly good bits of beaty or freaky goodness rotting in the remainder bins.  "If it wasn't issued between 1962 - 1969," seemed to be the thinking, "then it probably isn't worth anyone's while".

Most of us have wised up since, realising that while very few examples of pure psych or mod records were issued after the sixties, discs did slide out which kept some of the influences bubbling underneath.  Take this single, for example - beneath the hollered, gravelly, country rock vocals lies an insistent and nagging beat and riff which is stylistically not far off a recognised classic like Calum Bryce's "Lovemaker" and maybe closer still to some of Tom Jones's more dance floor friendly outings.

Hard Horse seem as if they were probably a studio project rather than a proper gigging outfit, but were lead by Paul Thomas who previously had cut singles with the Coventry psych-pop act Peppermint Circus.  Peter Shelley also seems to have been involved in a major capacity here, co-writing and producing "Let It Ride".  Shelley had already had a career acting as a talent scout for Decca records, but by this point had left the organisation to begin work as an independent writer and producer.  This phase of his career was actually a minor blip before he co-created Magnet Records with Michael Levy and wrote their first release in 1973, Alvin Stardust's smash hit "My Coo Ca Choo".  You can just about hear some minor similarities here, but stylistically the two songs are some way apart.  "Let It Ride" has grit in its mouth and damage on its mind, whereas "My Coo Ca Choo" is all tinsel and fizz (though a perfectly good record for it).

The B-side "Hang Old Freddy" is a bit scuffed up (apologies for that) and appears to be a one-take studio spoof of "Hang On Sloopy".  It's safe to say that it was probably a bit of an afterthought. 

As for what became of Paul Thomas - I have no idea. If anyone knows, they should feel free to drop a comment.


KL from NYC said...

Do you know anything about this label? #2006 was a Reparata & The Delrons single from the next year, "Octopus's Garden" (I've got a label scan saved -- I don't memorize these things, in case you're wondering).

KL from NYC said...

I forgot to say thanks for the A-side. It's a good one, but I don't think any radio stations on either side of the Atlantic would have played a song at that time with "damn" in the lyric. What were the producers thinking?

23 Daves said...

I *think* you could get away with "damn' on the British airwaves in 1971, but there again I could be wrong.

Anyway, D'Art records was an independent label in Britain mostly distributed by RCA. It had a long run of singles in the seventies but of those, only Repararta & The Delrons had a hit. There's a discography over on the seventies record labels website:

I can vaguely remember reading a story somewhere about D'Art Records campaigning against the BBC's bias towards the products of bigger labels, but I can't find anything online, so I may have dreamt that.

23 Daves said...

And sorry, the Delrons single that was a hit was "Shoes", not "Octopus's Garden" (which you mention).

KL from NYC said...

The 7tt77 site will be helpful.

BLIMP said...

Paul Thomas was a member of the band Peppermint Circus, now he has a band called The Firm.

Unknown said...

Hi there
Regarding Hard Horse, i am very proud to say that my dad was the guitarist on the let it ride track and is also in the video.

23 Daves said...

Hi - what's your Dad's name?