29 November 2020

John Christian Dee - The World Can Pack Their Bags And Go Away/ Stick To Your Guns


Sulky introverted ballad to the joys of prostitution

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1969

While John Christian Dee's name may not be immediately familiar, the American-born songwriter and performer was actually one of the sixties busiest beavers. From being the first "Adam" in the Germany based singing duo "Adam and Eve", to penning "Don't Bring Me Down" for The Pretty Things, to marrying (and working with) controversial society figure Janie Jones, Dee was everywhere while as a solo performer (in UK chart terms) being nowhere. 

 The relative failure of his solo singing career has to be put in some perspective here. Adam and Eve were a sensation in Germany, issuing scores of singles and seldom being off the television, and when he moved to Britain his songwriting career was productive and actually highly credible. Besides working with The Pretty Things he also wrote "Get Yourself Home" for The Fairies - a cult sixties R&B classic - and a string of other pop songs for major labels. All this was attempted while trying to make a name for himself as a solo performer, which caught some of the attention of the music press but didn't necessarily result in huge sales.

"The World Can Pack Their Bags And Go Away" was his third solo single on these shores, and was also somewhat strangely the B-side of his previous single for Pye "Take Me Along", though the differing production credits for this issue would suggest a more ambitious re-recording. It's a full-on sulk of a record, documenting someone's post-adolescent heartbreak and wanderlust. "For a couple of pounds I could buy a friend/ but what would people say?" asks Dee somewhat weirdly at one point, before detailing a hotel check-in with the aforementioned buddy. 

It's a very peculiar piece of kitchen sink songsmithery which begs sympathy for a lonely and heartbroken man who just wants to spend quality time with a whore; not a subject that was likely to find much commercial favour in 1969, or indeed now, which is probably why it didn't. 
Dee's actual life was arguably no less absurd. His marriage to Janie Jones, who was later sentenced to seven years in prison for soliciting prostitutes, was a controversial kind of razzle-dazzle. Prior to her conviction, Jones had a career on the fringes of British showbiz and produced outraged headlines when turning up topless to the 1964 premiere of Michael Klinger's "London In The Raw" film.  By Jones' accounts, that marriage was doomed by Dee's "wild" behaviour, which causes me to wonder quite what he got up to.

This is a peculiar old artefact from a strange period, and I'm surprised it's managed to slip between the cracks for so long. Ballads of this nature just don't exist anymore, but to be fair, I'm not sure they did either before or immediately after 1969 either. 

The B-side "Stick To Your Guns" has been compiled on "Piccadilly Sunshine" and is widely available both in mp3 music stores and on Spotify, so if you're looking for that one, you know where to go.

If you can't preview the mp3 file below, go right to the source


Pete said...

Thanks so much for this! Can you please upload the other side, too? Thanks!

23 Daves said...

It's widely available at the usual outlets, Pete. Please do download it there.