5 June 2016

Tony Cody - Walk On By/ (Ain't It) Funny How Time Slips Away

Label: Pye
Year of release: 1972

I can't claim any kind of exclusivity with this one, since it's already started to pick up some positive comments online by other crate diggers. However, it still doesn't seem to be much of a collectible - my copy was relatively cheap and in rather good condition too, so it clearly remains under the radar of most.

At first glance you might think that this is a club crooner taking on a Bacharach and David classic in a very straight and uninteresting way, but you'd be wrong. This take of "Walk On By" is quietly menacing, slightly creepy and contains a rich, meandering orchestral arrangement. The trilling bounce of the original is replaced with despondency and a faint air of sleaze - a fuzz guitar buzzes into life at various points, giving the track a pronounced and threatening shove. Cody's vocals are slick and smooth, but the mental image I have is of a man in an all-night Soho bar in a crumpled suit looking worse for wear; someone who is trying to give the impression of holding everything together but failing miserably. And following that observation it's perhaps appropriate for me to mention that what the arrangement of the single reminds me of most of all are the darker elements of Pulp's LP "This Is Hardcore". 

The flip "(Ain't It) Funny How Time Slips Away" is possibly proof that the oddness on the A-side was pure fluke. It's a fairly standard and unobjectionable ballad which offers nothing outstanding or unusual to the listener.

The identity of Tony Cody is something of a mystery. The Pye press release informs us that he was "born in Copenhagen of English-Danish parents" who had gone through several bands to finally "set himself up as an independent record producer". However, the only credit I can find for Tony Cody anywhere is this single. I'm wondering if the credited producer here, Tony Eyers - much later responsible for 5000 Volts and productions for Kelly Marie, Polly Brown, Petula Clark and Twiggy among others - is our man operating here under a pseudonym. It makes no sense to me that Cody would have gone to set up his own production company then released precisely nothing through it, not even his own solitary single, and this does seem to be a very early production of Eyers... so my suspicions may not be far wrong, but please don't treat them as fact. If anyone can confirm or deny this detective work of mine, please do step up to the plate.


Unknown said...

B side is a Willie Nelson song covered by Elvis, Supremes, Al Green and many others.

23 Daves said...

Ah, Willie Nelson. That's probably why it hadn't really registered with me before... thanks for the spot.

Anonymous said...

Once again, thank you for your postings !!!

Greetings Albert

Simon Mclean said...

For what it's worth, Tony Eyers produced a lot of budget label anonymous LPs of pop cover versions (a la Top Of The Pops). The 'Walk On By' backing track was recycled on a cheapo 'Hits Of Burt Bacharach' compilation on Windmill with a female vocalist replacing the mysterious Tony Cody.

23 Daves said...

That's really interesting, Simon! I just wasn't aware that the backing track had also been used elsewhere. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The arrangement is excellent - but it's just a copy of the arrangement used by Isaac Hayes for his version of the song, which was 12 minutes long on his 1969 Hot Buttered Soul album but a somewhat more concise 4m 25s when issued as a single. Check it out