14 November 2018

The Slade Brothers - Love and Comfort/ Clearly I See

Canadian ex-pats with contemplative debut single

Label: Pye
Year of Release: 1965

The Slade Brothers are probably best known to record collectors for their hypnotic, fuzz-guitar driven third single "Peace In My Mind". That really was a complete anomaly in their catalogue, though, with its vaguely hippy-ish undertones acting as a red herring against what was a rather 'straight' folk and pop orientated career.

The pair Jack Klaeysen and Ralph Murphy (not real brothers, you'll note) hooked up in Wallaceburg, Ontario in the early sixties, and began composing songs together. After hearing The Beatles for the first time, they decided that the North American continent clearly wasn't where it was at anymore, and in winter 1965 took a ship to Liverpool to try their fortune over here.

On board, they had the good fortune to meet Joe Collins, Joan Collins' father, who saw them entertaining passengers and asked them to consider inking a deal with his talent agency. The fact that they seemingly thought he was a chancer on a wind-up meant that the boys didn't sign on the dotted line until some weeks later, but not long after seeking him out they began to get major support slots with acts such as The Pretty Things and The Byrds, and a deal with Pye.

"Love and Comfort" was their debut single on the label in 1965, released a mere four months after their voyage - most groups, then and now, would gasp at breaks emerging so rapidly - and shows a pair of already slick performers producing minimal, pretty folk ballads. It's a little naive, and really doesn't sound anything like a hit, but acted as a strong springboard for future releases.

Besides "Peace In My Mind", the pair also issued "Don't You Cry Over Me" as their second single and the Cook and Greenaway track "What A Crazy Life" as their final outing in 1966. The latter single seemed to have been pegged as a probable hit, getting heavy airplay on Radio Luxembourg and releases in Germany, the USA and Australia among other countries, but after it stiffed the pair drifted apart.

The group was far from Murphy's only concern, however. After signing a deal with Mills Music in 1965, he also wrote songs for Billy Fury, James Royal ("Call My Name", written in collaboration with Klaeysen) and The Casuals, and eventually went on to become the Director of Production at the company. This lead to an endless round of production work, following which he formed Pic-A-Lic Music Publishing with his business partner Roger Cook, who went on to provide numerous hits for stars as significant as Shania Twain and Crystal Gayle. It's hard to imagine that kind of media career emerging from as humble a seed as "Love and Comfort", but there you have it.

Klaeysen's career has been less busy since, but "Call My Name" was enough of a global hit to have ensured a constant round of cover versions and royalty cheques ever since.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally unknown for me,sounds a little bit folky

Many thanks David

Greetings Albert