THIS BLOG IS ABOUT 7" RECORDS ONLY. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY. EVERY SONG IS CONVERTED TO MP3 FROM MY PERSONAL 45 COLLECTION, AND THERE'S NOT ONE THAT I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND YOU SEEKING OUT. ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDERS WHO DON'T WANT THEIR MUSIC HEARD HERE JUST LET ME KNOW, AND DOWN IT WILL COME. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE.
Listen: Hold Tight / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Hold
Possibly you’ll notice a distinct similarity between these two singles. Both on Fontana and both released during February ’66 in the UK.
‘Grotty Drums’, the B side to infamous session drummer Bobby Graham’s second solo release ‘Teensville’, was co-written with Jimmy Page. At the time not only a member of The Yardbirds, but like Bobby aka Bobbie, he was a very in demand session player himself. Both played on hundreds of singles from the era, many recorded for Fontana, the label in common. It’s also one of the loudest cut singles I can think of. Upon close inspection, the grooves resemble a graph of the Dow Jones during a volatile month.
Probably coincidental but fun to imagine one or the other being impressed by the instantaneous drive and swing of that 4/4 attack, and borrowing it a bit.
The mere concept that Bobbie Graham, aka Bobby Graham, played drums on an estimated fifteen thousand singles is mind boggling. Seriously, we probably don’t have time in our remaining years to listen to them all, not to mention the hours it took to record them. His discography, lifted from the official website, is frustratingly short. This abridged version is possibly a good thing though. As with the various drug warnings on television nowadays, the entire song list may cause convulsions or death.
In ’64, Bobbie Graham’s session work with The Pretty Things resulted in him becoming their producer, apparently Fontana’s various in-house staff not having a grasp for the job. A&R manager Jack Baverstock had the good sense to sign him as an artist, issue a few singles, he having recently appeared in a spectacular segment of the film GONKS GO BEAT, playing the blue kit and dressed in a matching blue shirt:
Preceding the film’s release, ‘Skin Deep’ was in the stores. Possibly viewed as a corporate attempt at capitalizing on the beat group sound of the day, it’s bombastic production teeters on overkill and surf all at once. In hindsight, you can’t find a better snapshot of the colorful period.
Unlike most throwaway B sides, this one was clearly planned. A co-write between Bobbie Graham and Jimmy Page, ‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ calculated the access they’d have to a full orchestra while in the studio recording ‘Skin Deep’. Released in January of ’65 meant ‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ was clearly recorded in ’64, during which time the pair were professionally the most sought after studio team around London. Other than Big Jim Sullivan, it was Little Jim as Jimmy Page was known, who played on just about as many singles as Bobbie Graham.
‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ spills into surf in my twisted head, not unlike it’s A side. It’s great to think back to a time when instrumentals were positioned into the mainstream. Not until electronic music became Top 40 during the late 90′s, and then in the UK and Europe, did the trend begin to resurface. The US, usually twenty years and five hours behind England when it comes to the radio, is just now surrendering to instrumental dance hits on daytime broadcasts. US programmers. What a bunch of boobs.
This came on Little Steven’s Sirius station yesterday. I was in the car, literally flying down the FDR. It was a bizarre Saturday, as though New York had been deserted. There was no traffic. None.
Not only did the mere sound of Them completely lift my mood, it also reminded me I’d never heard ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ on the radio in my entire life. Released during summer ’66 makes it a good four, going on five decades later that the record is finally getting some airplay. A mitzvah indeed.
Like ‘Gloria’ before it, I recall ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ being covered by seemingly every American punk band during the 60′s. In so doing, Them were immortalized and, I guess to Van Morrison’s annoyance, tarred with those horrible garage band shackles.
Make no bones about it mind you, ’66 was a great year for Them when it comes to US singles. Four in all, and every one locking their place in music history as being perfect: ‘Mystic Eyes’, ‘Call My Name’, ‘Richard Corey’ and this.
So when the very first notes came through the dash, my involuntary reaction cranked the volume, and in a way too, purposely forced me to miss the 23rd Street exit, Bobbie Graham‘s drumming so driving I needed to keep speeding along to catch the song’s priceless dynamic moment at :47, when that Farfisa organ drops right as the second verse begins.
Seriously, the combination made me feel a little high. New York’s skyline almost overpowering the senses on a warm yet chilly spring day, hearing this long forgotten piece of musical perfection loudly and basically having the FDR entirely to myself at 70 mph.