24 February 2021

China - High Looking High/ East And The West Side

Vic Elmes of Christie on a chugging, rocky comeback tip

Label: President
Year of Release: 1974

As the seventies got underway, there may have been people out there who had the group Christie pegged as having a long and prosperous future. "Yellow River" was a determined chart presence in 1970, not only peaking at number one but having a catchiness which ensured it stayed on the chart for 22 weeks and hit home in the USA as well.

While they managed to sustain their initial success to a degree, a period of obvious commercial decline set in after their follow-up "San Bernadino" peaked at number 7 later that year. They had no further hits - though "Iron Horse" did nudge the lower reaches of the Top 50 in 1972 - and eventually Jeff Christie decided that he would rather pursue a solo career than continue with the group.

This left their guitarist Vic Elmes at something of a loose end, and while he initially went back to a regular day-job to provide him with an income, it wasn't long before he returned to the studio with new group China. Sadly, this was their sole release. "High Looking High" is something of a rocker, chugging and grooving along like a swaggering rhinoceros. There's a tiny bit of Christie's old hookiness about the chorus, but the rest of it whiffs of denim and beery rock venues.

The change of direction paid no dividends and the group split very shortly after this was released, apparently being let down by management. Still, it's not a bad 45 to remember them by. Following this, Vic went on to join a later line-up of The Tremeloes.

Anybody interested in the career of Christie generally should watch this 22 minute documentary about the history of "Yellow River", which goes into some depth about how The Tremeloes turned down that track like a bunch of daft sods.

If you can't preview the tracks below, go right to the source.

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