3 April 2019

The Cresters - I Just Don't Understand/ I Want You

Bramley's beat kings with a slightly bluesy offering

Label: HMV
Year of Release: 1964

Like a number of beat groups in the early sixties, The Cresters didn't suddenly form after being wowed by performances by The Beatles and The Stones - rather, they had something of a history beforehand, going under the name of "Mike Sagar and The Cresters" and producing work which had a much more traditional old-school rock and roll feel. "Deep Feeling", a number 44 near-hit from 1961, showcases a very measured, British approach (dig those intricate guitar lines).

By the time they re-emerged in 1964, however, Sagar's name was no longer in lights and they were producing a much more modern beat sound, doubtless in an attempt to capitalise on the fact that groups with guitars were certainly not on their way out. Their cover of Ann-Margret's "I Just Don't Understand" has a bit more of an agitated, bluesy tug about its melodies than most of their contemporaries, and while not especially wild, is reasonably angsty for its January 1964 release date.

The flip "I Want You" is a group penned effort and is perfectly listenable, but is clearly the work of a group developing their skills in that area.

The Cresters came from Bramley in Yorkshire and besides Mike Sagar consisted of Malcolm Clarke on guitar and vocals, brothers John Harding and Richard Harding on bass and lead guitar respectively, and Johnnie Casson on drums.  Malcolm Clark took over as lead vocalist of the group when health issues caused Sagar to bail in 1965, but sadly Clark passed away a few years later, leaving the rest of the band with a career as cabaret circuit regulars. 

While the band's fortune must have obviously seemed ghastly at the time, they continued to make a good living on the cabaret circuit. That's also where drummer Johnnie Casson's career flipped into comedy for which he is now best known, with regular appearances on stage and television continuing to this day. 


Anonymous said...

It's not clear for me whether the Crestas (To Be Loved/When I Fall In Love, Fontana TF 551)are the same group.

23 Daves said...

According to the BBC Leeds website, they are apparently one and the same band.

Anonymous said...

Thx, I wrote it but i'm not sure yet.

23 Daves said...

In that case, I'm no more sure than you! Sorry about that.

Arthur Nibble said...

By a complete quirk of fate, I got Johnnie Casson as a side dropdown link on YouTube tonight, so I gave him a look. He's good at comedy, that lad.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i'm not a native speaker. I meant I read this article.

chowse said...

Track down Australian Normie Rowe's version of "I Just Don't Understand". Much bluesier than this IMO