3 March 2021

Reupload - The Hallmarks - One Way Street/ Johnny's Gone For A Soldier

A thick, syrupy dollop of folk-rock from an as yet unidentified band
Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1967

Before they really got a grip on the UK market, Polydor released a slurry of flop singles which were barely heard at the time, and have drifted into absolute obscurity since. These were often by artists so overlooked that they haven't even managed to gain an entry in the usually exhaustive "Tapestry of Delights" encyclopaedia of sixties pop. 

That's certainly the case with The Hallmarks here, who appear to have been a folk rock group based in Britain (though it's hard to say for sure). The A-side here, "One Way Street", is a rather underproduced but strident piece of work, with the vocals somewhat suffocated in the mix by a treacle of chiming guitars and thumping drums. No matter - the song itself is actually an enjoyable example of the folk rock genre, containing close Mama and Papas-esque vocal harmonies, wintry sleigh bells, and a jingle jangle morning air. With a more sympathetic mix, it's possible to imagine this having been a hit, however by January 1967 stripped back folk rock was beginning to seem a bit passe, and more ambitious songwriting and production was beginning to shape the pop landscape.

Whoever they were, The Hallmarks seemingly never issued another record, and naffed off after this without leaving behind any clues to their identity. The A-side was also recorded by the Irish group Brendan Bowyer and The Royal Showband, aka The Royal Showband Waterford, so it's possible that the group were actually Irish rather than British. Equally possibly, however, "One Way Street" might have been a Denmark Street composition bought up by both bands at different times. Who knows? Certainly not me, that's for sure.
If you can identify the mystery band, please do leave a comment.

(Update - since I uploaded these tracks in 2017, somebody left a comment to suggest that this American group could be one and the same. It's a possibility but nothing, as Dusty Springfield once sang, has been proved and I'm still none the wiser as to the group's line-up.

An earlier demo version of "One Way Street" has also turned up on YouTube). 


rntcj said...


Thanx for all your shares of "obscure" singles. You may know this site but if not a possible research site to use here:

Ciao! For now.

23 Daves said...

Thanks mtcj - that's added to the blog roll.