17 January 2021

Fresh Meat - Never Mind The Money/ Candy Eyes

Mick Green of Johnny Kidd's Pirates with excellent 70s single
Label: Deram
Year of Release: 1973
While it doesn't seem to be budging much in value, this 45 is becoming increasingly appreciated by collectors online, not for its A side but the contents of the flip. On the plug side is an ordinary but actually none too shabby piece of bluesy rock - others have called it "dreary", but honestly, if I'd found a one-sided promo copy or test pressing of this I'd probably have eventually uploaded it on the strength of the group's performance and the nagging quality of the chorus. That may say more about me than anyone else, admittedly.

Nestling on the flip, though, is a snaking, slithering piece of sleazy pop-rock which has an undercurrent of grooviness to it which can't be resisted. "Candy Eyes" isn't a red hot example of lost prog or psychedelia, but it is a damn good case for the defence of early seventies non-glam pop music - it creeps and crawls like a leopard on the prowl, and only the slightly corny ending lets it down. If that bothers you too much, though, I'm sure you can edit a long fade in for yourselves at the appropriate moment.

Fresh Meat also weren't a complete bunch of unknowns - or at the very least, one of them wasn't. On lead guitarist duties here is the legendary Mick Green who previously played with Johnny Kidd and The Pirates. He formed Fresh Meat after returning from America following a stint backing Engelbert Humperdinck in Las Vegas, but despite his lofty status as a rock guitarist their records didn't sell in great quantities. This was the debut outing, and the follow-up "Hobo" on Raft Records later in 1973 sold marginally better, but still didn't do enough business to impress the label. The group eventually morphed into Hard Meat (and no, not the Hard Meat who were signed to Island in 1970), before becoming Shanghai who boasted Cliff Bennett on vocals. 

Shanghai evidently saw sense and put "Candy Eyes" out as an A-side in 1975, even promoting and performing it on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" - but it made no odds and the track still didn't sell. 

So far as Fresh Meat are concerned, their line-up at the point of this single being issued (besides Mick) seemed to be Chuck Bedford, Peter Kircher and Mike Demain. Peter Kircher would put out a solo single called "Rockin' Lady" in 1974, and Chuck Bedford would also issue the solo records "When I See You Smile" on Bell in 1974 and "Ray Of Sunshine" on Rockfield in 1975.

Very sadly, Mick Green died of a heart-attack in Ilford in 2010, leaving a long string of recorded performances behind him, and a lot of kind words and respect from fellow musos. Very few of them mentioned "Candy Eyes", but perhaps they should have done.

If you're struggling to preview the sound files below, please go right to the source.


Arthur Nibble said...

Discogs mentions that drummer Pete Kircher was in Status Quo between 1982 and 1985. Never knew that.

23 Daves said...

Oh, I missed that! Presumably he was the unfortunate drummer whose kit was knocked over live on TOTP in 1983. That's worth a mention.

Jez Kinsman said...

Great b-side Dave - with more than a hint; of, to these ears anyway, Redbone’s 1971 hit Witch Queen of New Orleans