11 September 2019

U.S.A.U.K. - Illinois/ Heads You Win

Mysterious 70s pop-rock outfit with presumably Transatlantic membership

Label: MAM
Year of Release: 1977

God help me, it's one of those dastardly cases of a band name I can't find in any reference book which is also more or less impossible to Google. Not only does "U.S.A.U.K." mainly call up examples of trade deals and companies with Transatlantic headquarters on everyone's favourite search engine, the group made the A-sides of their only two singles about popular areas of the US. The follow-up to "Illinois" was "California Bound", causing the group to get further hidden among business websites.

You can't kick a group for not predicting the future well enough, though, and I'm forced to conclude that this band's debut single is a pretty good slice of pop-rock boogie. It's not impossible to imagine it being produced in a pub rock style by Nick "Basher" Lowe, but instead the group went for a slicker production and ended up with this - a halfway house between Camden boozers and West Coast snazz.

The B-side "Heads You Win" is even more polished, owing a minor debt to Steely Dan. It would probably have caused a toothy grin to slide all over Whispering Bob Harris' visage at the time. 

Beyond those two singles, I've no idea what happened to U.S.A.U.K next. It doesn't seem unfair to assume that they were a group with some kind of cross-Atlantic membership, but proving that is going to be rather difficult - all we've got is a German picture sleeve over on Discogs to show us what they looked like. If you know who they were, do enlighten us in the comments. 


Martin O'London said...

Produced by T. Jones / M. West
M. West is presumably the same as in Malcolm West Publishing, but could the T. Jones be the same
Tom Jones who set up M.A.M. Records with Gordon Mills?
Or was it an 'Executive Producer' credit?

Graham said...

Just listened to it. Quite enjoyable. I do hope you find the other single one day.