20 June 2021

The Look - If I Were A Carpenter/ Can You Do (The Things I Want)

Sharp garage take on the Tim Hardin track from the very youthful Alessi Brothers

Label: Verve
Year of Release: 1967

Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter" has been picked up and kicked around by numerous performers and groups across the stylistic spectrum. Bobby Darin took it on, as did The Four Tops, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Bob Seger, Raymond Lefevre, Johnny Hallyday and even Robert Plant. Sometimes songs come along which are universal and adaptable enough to fit soul, supper club schmaltz, country, easy listening and rock without losing much in the interpretation, and even if Hardin never had a hit with the track himself, he hopefully managed to earn considerable royalties from those who did.

Low, low down on his royalties sheet with its figures to the right of the decimal point might sit this 1967 garage rock take on the tune. The Look - actually the West Hempsted, New York garage group Country Gentlemen under another name - take Hardin's original and begin sympathetically at first, before kicking the chorus around those four bare breezeblock walls. The track may as well be retitled "If I Weren't In Some Garage Group and Had A Fancy Office Job, Would You Marry Me?" It takes the original and turns it into a tantrum, which is an interesting way of handling the goods on offer.

The Country Gentlemen consisted of twins Billy and Bobby Alessi (on Guitar, Organ and Vocals and Guitar and Vocals respectively), Don Drodge on bass and Bob Pelicane on drums. Their debut 45 "Saturday Night" is actually a thumping great rock and roll groover, but obviously didn't cut through to mainstream success. 

The twins later formed the group Barnaby Bye who issued two LPs ("Room To Grow" and "Touch") on Atlantic in the seventies, before forming the duo Alessi and jumping to A&M. Their single "Oh Lori" actually climbed to number 8 in the UK charts in 1977, as well as selling well across Europe, but they never managed another significant hit. They eventually became session vocalists and producers, working with Paul McCartney, Debbie Gibson, Art Garfunkel and Rick Springfield. They also crop up on John Lennon's last LP of offcuts and demos "Milk And Honey" singing backing vocals. 

Bob Pelicane and Don Drodge's careers seem to have begun and ended with the Country Gentlemen, on the other hand. 

If the previews below aren't working properly, please go right to the source.


Nimrod said...


Love your blog, but lately only one track is posted for download, is it possible to fix this?
Would love to hear The Look "Carpenter"

Thank you.

23 Daves said...

Both are there, Nimrod - either refresh the page or go to the link just above the previews.

rntcj said...


Thanx for both sides. A "new" artist = "new" hears here. YT tracks of this single are found @ Discogs:

Prefer "B" side = more upbeat & some Pop brass.

Ciao! For now.

Nimrod said...

Thank you so much, keep up the good work.