The Change Is Made

No. 34 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72

By Barry, Maurice & Robin Gibb
Lead Vocal: Barry
Album: Horizontal 1968


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“Look out my window, I can see tomorrow”

The Bee Gees do loose-limbed guitar blues rock and do it rather well.

I wouldn’t want a whole album of this but it adds another dimension to Horizontal, sitting neatly in the middle of those final three, heavy songs which are nevertheless entirely different from each other.

Bill Shepherd quite rightly lets vocal and guitars do the talking so orchestral accompaniment is restricted to brass and, latterly, strings and the odd timpani roll.  Lack of vocal harmonies also make for a starker than usual feel.

No 33 Bad Bad Dreams
No 35 It’s Just the Way

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It’s Just the Way

No. 35 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72

Written by: Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocal: Maurice
Album: Trafalgar 1971


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“You don’t love me anymore, then goodbye”

Just a fine, semi-acoustic ballad from Maurice, charting his feelings as his relationship with Lulu comes to an end.

Characteristically understated, he simply relates how he feels in an unadorned way, looking ahead to a future which seems bereft.  There is a wish that friendship might yet emerge from the rubble, but the closing line is the sober dawning that ‘I only know that friends can’t be lovers again’.  Bill Shepherd’s sustained closing strings (highly characteristic of Trafalgar) are a long stare towards new horizons.

On an album of extended orchestral expositions, It’s Just the Way has a refreshing simplicity and directness.

Everybody Clap Lulu’s 1971 single written by Maurice

No 34 The Change is Made
No 36 Turning Tide

Heron: Songs for an August afternoon

Heron Upon Reflection: The Dawn Anthology, Double-CD, Castle 2006 

Heron CD cover

The band’s first producer, Gus Dudgeon, described Heron as ‘English pastoral, with a sunny, summer’s day feel.’   Few bands can be more deserving of that label as Heron actually recorded their two albums in fields (two different ones, in fact).  You can hear the birdsong, the summer’s breeze and, at one point, what sounds like the lazy drone of a light aircraft.  The background sounds were miked separately and then ‘dirtied up’ for added authenticity.  The mood is very much early ‘70s natural and organic – a little band banter here and there (‘little black things crawling all over me’), adjusting the mike at start of Carnival and Penitence.   The music is very much of its time too – quintessential English folk with gentle harmonies, a homely, rustic feel conveying simple pleasures and universal themes in sun-dappled hues.  It is music to bask in or nestle amongst – intimate, melancholy at times, wistful at others, sometimes gently humorous too.  There is a thematic undercurrent of life’s ephemerality as measured by the passing days and changing seasons –   ‘You may go to chase the sun or vanish in its changes’ (from Smiling Ladies).

Hailing from Berkshire, the mainstays of the band during 1970-72 were Tony Pook (vocals), Roy Apps (guitar, vocals), Gerald ‘G.T.’ Moore (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Steve Jones (keyboards).   Apps and Moore (writing separately) provided most of the material.  Surprisingly, perhaps, Moore had a background in local soul band Gerald T. Moore and The Memphis Gents.

Heron got a record deal via Donovan’s original producer Peter Eden, at progressive label Dawn in 1970.  They recorded two songs for a prospective single at Pye in July of that year.  They hated the sterility of the studio, preferring a relaxed approach with live audience interaction and to be ‘down by the lake in August, rolling in the leaves.’   So when it came to their Dawn album, they took off to Appleford in Berkshire (coincidentally not far from Traffic’s ‘place in the country’) staying at the farmhouse where Tony Pook’s family lived and recording the whole thing in a field at the back of the farm.   The setting doubtless gave rise to Apps’ evocative ‘sitting in your mother’s garden smoking Lebanese beneath the privet hedge’ (Upon Reflection).

The resulting album, Heron [Nov 1970], has strands of Dylan and The Incredible String Band running through its veins.  Together, the thirteen songs form a remarkably even folk-rock template.  There is discipline behind the spontaneity and an intent to the material which gives Heron a uniformly thoughtful quality.  Yellow Roses is a fine opener and Car Crash tells a chance tale of true love mingling memory, fantasy and longing.  There is perhaps a Joni Mitchell influence in lyrics such as ‘strikes shadows in the dancing, glancing, taunting vein that frees the air’.  Harlequin 2 has an enjoyably diverse approach to instrumentation and vocals whilst Little Boy and Little Angel show a melodicism and potential for a Matthews Southern Comfort-like smoothness.

Lord and Master is the wintry standout, beguiling, quietly yearning and hooky in its way with its themes of a handed-on connectiveness –  ‘ I am a lover of everything and I walk with a friend of the trees’  –  linked by melancholy – ‘the sky it longs for the sun’.  ‘Lord and Master’ would be a good entry point for anyone unfamiliar with Heron (unless you’re a committed folkie in which case, dive in).

Heron took part in the Penny Dawn Concerts Tour (four Dawn bands for one old penny!).  Roy Apps recalls the rapturous reception they received from an audience of three thousand in Bristol but generally the band felt their quieter style was better suited to more intimate venues.   Despite a Radio 1 session in January 1971, still Heron failed to break through.

April 1971 brought a maxi-single.  The rootsy rock of Bye and Bye (Tony Blackburn’s record of the week) and Through Time hints at more diverse musical flavours to come.  Sales of the single were not helped by a ‘vinyl problem’ and strike of delivery van drivers.   These kinds of incidental yet crucial circumstances frustrated the hopes of so many artists and bands in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Ramshackle rumbustuousness

Second album Twice as Nice and Half the Price [Oct 1971] was a double-LP recorded in the gardens of a gamekeeper’s cottage south of the village of Black Dog, Devon.  The sound is fuller here thanks to additional bass, drums, electric guitar and slide guitar but its twenty-one songs tend to sacrifice the substance of melody and song structure for texture, playfulness, performance and ‘being in the moment’.   Perhaps they were inspired by a lovely line from first album’s ‘Smiling Ladies’ – ‘I will sing until the music has no edges’.  Although its title suggests a gesture of hippy generosity, Twice as Nice…  was undermined by its length and the inclusion of some excessively ragged tracks, even allowing for an overall woody charm.  A single LP would have made for a far more satisfying record though, even then, not as strong as its predecessor.

The undercooked calypso lilt of album opener, Madman, references Moore’s broader musical aspirations whilst introducing the album’s raggle-taggle flavour; the song descends into a chaotic scramble of yelps, chatter and twangy guitars.  Love 13 (lone) opens with an enticing shimmer but the vaguely McCartneyesque melody which follows is disappointingly underdeveloped.  Likewise, Your Love and Mine has the hint of a decent tune allowed to slip away.  I rather like Miss Kiss with its endearing kookiness and hints of classicism whilst John Brown is a respectable yet affecting cover of the 12-verse early Dylan protest song.  For me, the album sags around the lengthy Winter Harlequin and The Sound of the Music, both doubtless fun to play.  Closing track Harlequin 5 successfully nails Heron’s playfulness whilst Pook’s The Wanderer is a thoughtful highlight (‘Heed the flying of the water birds, They will show you who to be’.)   With its ramshackle, rootsy rumbustuousness, Twice as Nice… always has its heart in the right place.  And when you see the cover (band gathering outside the warm yellow ochre farmhouse – it’s on their website) you warm to it even more.

If It’s Love, a stray track from 1972 which closes CD 1, is a surprisingly commercial proposition with an almost chewy early Badfinger-like quality and My Turn to Cry could have been a breakthrough single.

The band split in 1972 though members pursued musical ventures in various guises.   Interest in the band burgeoned in the ‘90s and in 1997 Heron returned to Black Dog for a reunion album, (Gerry Power replacing Moor) and a second farewell concert for the villagers, twenty-six years after the first one.   A video/DVD release followed in its wake.

This twin CD set gathers together all their Dawn recordings, forty-three tracks in all, including previously unreleased material (Rosalind), making it as comprehensive as any Heron anthology could be (saving recovery of long lost Friend from 1971).  There is a nice colour foldout with archive pictures and informative commentary from David Wells.

If, like me, you are stuck in the heat of the city looking for a little bucolic bliss, this could be your way out.

“Do that again?”

Heron [Nov 1970] ****
Twice as Nice and Half the Price [Oct 1971] ***

Heron website
G.T. Moore website

Complete Track listing

Something about Tim Andrews

Tim Andrews Something About Suburbia: The Sixties Sounds of Tim Andrews, RPM 2013

Tim Andrews CD cover

Chris Andrews made three singles for EMI 1967-70 under the name Tim Andrews and a further three with Paul Korda which together form the core of this compilation.

From the start, Chris cut an interesting swathe through swinging London.  Battersea born and bred, he was both London Savoy Hotel page boy and a mod with an eye to a career in show business.  He played the Artful Dodger in the West End and touring casts of Lionel Bart’s ‘Oliver’, taking over the role from friend David Jones (a pre-Monkees Davy Jones) before returning to London in 1965.

The sounds on offer here are, indeed, very ‘60s.  Chronological sequencing captures the rapidly changing pop scene of the decade’s latter half, beginning with the raw RnB of The Gremlins’ 1966 High Time Baby and Small Faces organ crunch of Rupert’s People’s ‘Hold On’.   The early highlight is Mud in Your Eye, a pre-Sharon Tandy Fleur de Lys slice of moody freakbeat with a chunky guitar solo where a verse should be.  No film appears to survive demonstrating Andrews’ live appeal but you have to guess by the energy of these early tracks and his background in musical theatre that he would have put on a good show.

Reflections of Charles Brown is a coolly pleasant, Whiter Shade-like slice of life which was disowned by Rupert’s People (actually Fleur de Lys again).

A name change to Tim (so as to avoid confusion with Sandie Shaw’s writer and sometime singer, Chris Andrews) marks the start of Andrews’ peak period.   Sad Simon Lives Again boasts a catchy singalong chorus whilst the wintry semi-acoustic B-side You Won’t Be Seeing Me Anymore shows an attractive, gentler side.

By now we’ve reached 1968 and what should have been the breakthrough single – (Something About) Suburbia.  According to the CD’s booklet, incredibly, this highly commercial number started out as the B-side to Your Tea is Strong – a faintly embarrassing, slyly humorous piece with mannered vocal and background chatter which wears its cod-Jamaican influences a little too, err, strongly.   Not surprisingly, DJs flipped the single but still Suburbia never made it into the charts though it’s enjoyed something of an afterlife.  The full story is here.

Follow-up, Smile If You Want To (now with Paul Korda) is also a strong contender.  Cy Payne’s arrangement takes us into Keith Mansfield bold brass territory along with dramatic Four Seasons vocal flourishes, I think from Paul.  There is plenty of drama to be had in this Britpop song which would surely have felt at home in a ‘68 home grown flick.  B-side, Making Love to Him, is confident pop with vaguely wayward episodes of pounding drums and vocal echo.

From this point on, I think the CD loses a little momentum, suggesting maybe that Tim’s star was already on the descendant though How Many More Hearts Must Be Broken just won’t let the pace slacken, coming on like a Barry Ryan/Love Affair hybrid on speed.

As 1969 drew to a close, Parlophone gave Tim one last stab at the big time.  Probably Tiny Goddess – Tim’s enjoyable cover of the elegant Nirvana song – was too low key to do it.  The self-penned B-side, Josephine, with its lyric ‘Try to live without sorrow, See what’s coming tomorrow’ points the way to Andrews’ future as  a songwriter at Decca before returning as Kris Ryder in the mid ‘70s.  Josephine sounds like a fine Casuals song in the making and indeed Andrews wrote for the Lincoln group along with David Essex, Roger Daltry, Silk and others.

Kris Ryder’s  We’re Alive and Zoom in On Me shows the London mod ten years down the line in power pop mode, alive, well and sporting a Paul Weller/Sting haircut.

But perhaps what really brings the ‘60s segment of our story full circle is that Tim gets to play in pantomime with his old friend Davy Jones.

1. The Gremlins – High Time Baby [1966]
2. Fleur de Lys – Mud In Your Eye [1966]
3. Rupert’s People – Hold On [1967]
4. Rupert’s People – Reflections of Charles Brown [1967]
5. Tim Andrews – Sad Simon Lives Again [1967]
6. Tim Andrews – You Won’t Be Seeing Me Anymore [1967]
7. Tim Andrews – (Something About) Suburbia [1968]
8. Tim Andrews – Your Tea is Strong [1968]
9. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – Smile If You Want To [1968]
10. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – Makin’ Love To Him [1968]
11. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – Angel Face [1968]
12. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – Waiter Get Me a Drink [1968]
13. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – How Many More Hearts Must Be Broken [1969]
14. Tim Andrews & Paul Korda – Discovery [1969]
15. Tim Andrews – Tiny Goddess [1970]
16. Tim Andrews – Josephine [1970]