23 November 2022

Reuploads - The Chances-R - Talking Out the Back Of My Head and Turn A New Leaf Over


Two singles from relentless Southampton rockers and Melody Maker Beat Contest finalists.

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1967

While Battle of the Bands contests are seen as a bit passé now, back in the sixties the Melody Maker National Beat Contest was a huge opportunity for aspiring groups. Shining a spotlight on bands away from the London hub, anyone who made the final at the London Palladium was at the very least a powerful live act. The competition tended not to leave itself open to mere fashion and hype - if you couldn't deliver, you didn't get through.

Rob Chance and The Chances-R went through a number of heats to earn the opportunity to perform in the final in 1966, and lead singer Rob decided that the best way of impressing the judges and audience would be to sing "Maria" and "Somewhere" from West Side Story. It has been suggested that this stunt reduced them to mere third place, as while Chance's performance was strong, it clearly wasn't in keeping with the other sharp bands on the bill raving it up. In the end, Neath's Eyes of Blue took the top prize, which seems to make perfect sense to me ("West Side Story" errors of judgement from the bronze placed band or not). They were widely regarded to be a fierce live act in their day.

The publicity was obviously valuable to The Chances-R, and they signed to CBS the following year. First out of the traps was "Talking Out The Back Of My Head" in March 1967, a skippy, jolly beat offering with vague Motown undertones, which ironically sounds very slightly like Eyes of Blue circa "Supermarket Full Of Cans". With tight vocal harmonies, an insistent chorus and one of the most dangerously long false endings I've ever heard, it's only fault is probably the nagging use of "la la la la" vocal lines, which are overdone.

It wasn't a hit, but their next release would be a bit sharper and livelier. (Entry continues beneath the sound files)

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1967

With production duties being taken on by Dave Dee of "Dave Dee, Dozy and his etceteras" fame, "Turn A New Leaf Over" really showcases the bands vocal harmonies, which almost - though not quite - flirt with popsike at points in this record. It's another bright and breezy pop tune, but from it you get a clear sense of the band's tight, driving force, and also Rob Chance's songwriting skills.

If the band had an issue, it was possibly that both these singles sound like follow-ups to successful singles rather than breakthrough records in their own right. Both seemed to sell quite poorly away from their south coast stomping grounds, and CBS opted for one final single under the name "Rob Chance and the Chances-R", entitled "At The End Of The Day". When that too flopped, he decided to throw in the towel. While the group had been together in one form or another since 1964, their recording career only lasted as long as the 1967 calendar year. His backing band, consisting of 'Spike' Waters, Pete Cortez, and Mike Davis, carried on for awhile with replacement vocalist Glen Conway, but finally retired in mid-1968. 

If none of the audio previews have worked well for you here, please go over to the source.

No comments: