26 June 2019

The Castells - Two Lovers/ Jerusalem

Dreamy psychedelia or gentle, easy pop? Or both? You decide.

Label: Masquerade
Year of Release: 1967

This one comes firmly recommended from a number of sources online, with the words "dreamy" and "psychedelia" often being used in close proximity to each other in people's descriptions. As I'm a sucker for the kind of swirling, mid-summer haziness of many of 1967's releases, I decided to take a gamble on this one while it was still cheap. 

And guess what? I'm not really sure it is especially psychedelic, but I'll leave you to judge for yourselves on that point. What it certainly does is take the melody from Adagio in G Minor, plonk it on a shimmering church organ, place the most delicate brushes of rhythms behind it, and push a cooing female vocal about romantic reminiscence to the forefront. If this makes matters sound rather saccharine, that's probably unfair - the song has a very melancholic, nostalgic air and focuses on memories of youthful love rather than the giddy rush of the present. No sooner has it made its point than it fades, dream-like, into the dawn. There's no doubt it's exceptionally well arranged and performed, and a solid recording all round, but claims of "lost psych classic!" or even "lost sixties smash" seem to be exaggerated.

Nestling on the flip is a somewhat muted version of the old Last Night Of The Proms classic, William Blake's "Jerusalem". There's a touch of the Ronnie Hazelhursts about the arrangement here, and I doubt it will be replacing Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty's version at the end of "It's Grim Up North" as top contemporary cover anytime soon. 

The identity of The Castells is a mystery. They definitely aren't the American group of the same name, and this was their only single. Nor, if I'm being honest, do I have the slightest clue who was behind the Masquerade record label, whose only other release seems to have been a record by Arthur Mullard of all people. Answers to the usual address on the back of a picture postcard of Stonehenge, please. 


Darryl W. Bullock said...

The Arthur Mullard track was originally recorded by Anthony Quinn

Unknown said...

My uncle Nicolas is an international concert organist- now retired but one of the best in his day and very well known internationally. In the late sixties he was pursuaded to perform on the organ for a rock band named the Castells (Two Lovers) but he changed his second name on the disc from Kynaston to Kinnerton as at that time he was the organist at Westminster Abbey and didn't feel that he could use his real name. The song did very well in the charts initially but was then withdrawn for copyright reasons as it was based on Albinoni's Adagio. I actually found this copy on Youtube quite by accident. So odd to hear it again after all these decades. I don't know who the other band members were or who the lead singer was but I shall ask him if he remembers.

23 Daves said...

Thanks for that information! Any extra facts you do have would be very gratefully received, though obviously I know it was all a very long time ago now...