21 March 2021

The Morgan-James - The Dreamer/ Out Of My Mind

Wally Stott arranged duo veer closer to popsike 
Label: Philips
Year of Release: 1968
The Morgan-James Duo - whose name was abbreviated to The Morgan-James late in their career for unclear reasons - were not really a hip and happening outfit. Signed to Philips on the strength of a string of dates at Paris's "Bar Of Music", their LP sleevenotes boasted that their main influences were The Four Freshmen and The Hi-Los at a point where beat music was the dominant chart force in the UK. 

Pete Morgan and Colin James met at the Mayfair Hotel when Morgan was drafted into James' gigging band when his usual bass player became unavailable. Morgan's background was on the somewhat more credible R&B and beat circuit, but after enjoying working together they decided there might be a future for them as a performing duo. 
The Philips label was something of a safe house for slick, seasoned, family friendly performers in the sixties and John Franz swiftly became wise to the pair and approached them with a contract. They went on to record ten singles and three albums for the label, and while the lack of chart hits may have made Philips' perseverance questionable, they were heavily in demand on the live circuit and also appeared on numerous prime-time television comedy and variety shows including "The Golden Shot", "The Bruce Forsyth Show", "Thank Your Lucky Stars", "The Good Old Days", "Morecambe & Wise" and "Dee Time". Surely with such continual exposure a chart breakthrough was only just around the corner?

You know the answer to that question yourself. While they were a safe pair of hands in the world of light entertainment and usually guaranteed to fill out a club with one of their gigs, they didn't seem to inspire the necessary public devotion to put them in the "hit parade". "The Dreamer" was their ninth single in 1968 and as a number of collectors have already pointed out, there's a faint tinge of psychedelia in Wally Stott's arrangements. Some might even call it popsike (though I personally wouldn't). Still, its airy, blissed out, tranquil melodies will probably please the kind of people who also listen to the "Circus Days" series of compilations on fair Sunday afternoons.

One further single ("Let's Ride") followed on the back of this before Philips gave up on the pair. Pete Morgan became an in-demand session musician and regular member of the Dudley Moore Trio, whereas Colin James went on to release the pop single "Heavy Church" in Germany and the Netherlands in 1971. 

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

1 comment:

john111257 said...

great late 60s music