Bee Gees – A Kick in the Head is Worth Eight in the Pants

The last of three albums the Bee Gees recorded in 1972, A Kick in the Head is Worth Eight in the Pants was unissued thanks to the underperforming and underwhelming Life in a Tin Can.

Yet, despite its jokey title, A Kick in the Head… is reckoned to be the worthier contender and deservedly so.  Barry and Robin are in healthy vocal shape and the ballad heavy songs are at least well crafted.  More attention is paid to production than with its predecessor adding to an assured feel.

Sugar and grit

But still the writing lacks genuine inspiration.  The overall effect is of too much sugar and not enough grit.  Lonely Violin is the chief offender.  Despite an undeniably fetching melody it’s just too calculating to be really touching.  Lonely Violin wants to be taken seriously yet cannot truly touch me.  And yet neither does it tip into outright parody, Cucumber Castle style.

The most successful track is the striking Elisa, with its slow-build chorus gradually drawing us in.  Harry’s Gate extends nostalgic reminiscence into near self-mythology but it’s one of the more impressive songs here lent extra impact by the three brothers singing in unison on the chorus’ shared memories.

Production tends towards default lush as if hi-sheen surface alone demonstrates a quality product whereas it most likely suggests an overfriendliness towards AOR radio, ironic given that this album never made it onto the airwaves.  Like others, I can hear another Barry at times – Manilow – in the album’s romantic, schmaltzy sensibility.

Soft underbelly

And maybe that hints at the problem I have with the Bee Gees come 1972/73. In 1968, they simply wrote one freshly-minted song after another, put across with conviction, urgency and flair. Many were about lost love yet each conveyed a different emotional flavour. But five years down the line the Bee Gees’ emotion is like a kind of bland, en masse ‘thing’. They sound like a band producing what they think the public expects of them, no more and no less.

Four songs produced in London in early 1973 (King and Country, Jesus in Heaven, Life, Am I Wasting My Time? and the atypically political Dear Mr. Kissinger) are unfortunately not as compositionally strong as the best of the LA bunch.

It’s not hard to see why, at this point, even if at least one of the 1972 trio had fared rather better commercially, a change was required to relight the brothers’ fire. The Bee Gees’ soft underbelly was about to be made lean once again.

A Kick In the Head is Worth Eight in the Pants [1973]

Side 1
Wouldn’t I Be Someone
A Lonely Violin
Losers and Lovers
Home Again Rivers

Side 2
Harry’s Gate
Rocky LA
Castles In the Air
Where is Your Sister
It Doesn’t Matter Much to Me*

Singles 1973 [related to A Kick In the Head…]
Wouldn’t I Be Someone

* ‘It Doesn’t Matter Much to Me’ was B-side to 1974 single ‘Mr Natural’ from their album of that name.

<- Life In a Tin Can

Bee Gees Top 50 1966-72
Bee Gees’ Home Page

Bee Gees – Life In a Tin Can

The brothers don’t like this album much and neither do I.  An air of complacency hangs over proceedings not helped by the resolutely slow to middling pace across eight tracks lasting a mere thirty-two minutes.

Life In a Tin Can is the sound of the Bee Gees narrowing down their craft on almost every front.  Melodies mostly lack ambition and lyrics are unremarkable.  Where is the urgency, the passion?  Maybe the laidback LA vibe didn’t help.  At least they don’t pad out the tracks with superfluous instrumental breaks or extended codas so as to reach a forty-five minute running time.

Laidback LA 

Despite these shortcomings, Robin and Barry’s vocals are fine and Robin even stretches himself on Method to My Madness even if the material is too insubstantial to generate the necessary emotional payoff.  This being the height of Maurice’s struggles with drink, we also lack a Maurice lead vocal/composition; his down-to-earthness, often a necessary antidote to Barry and Robin’s aggrandising tendencies, is missed here.  Still it’s nice to hear Maurice’s electric piano updating the unobtrusive but fairly bland production.

The best tracks are the opener, I Saw a New Morning (good dynamics), Robin’s My Life Has Been a Song (Barry’s bridge anticipates mid-late 70s Bee Gees) and Method to My Madness: all three have melodies a cut above the rest whilst lacking the freshness and vitality of earlier triumphs such as To Love Somebody, I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You or even the hookability of the more recent Lonely Days.


Elsewhere I Don’t Wanna be the One slides headlong into the mush which always threatens to engulf Life In a Tin Can.  Living in Chicago is well meaning but unengaging.  Barry plays with his post-The Gambler country thang again on South Dakota Morning but it’s getting a bit played out now.

So not a single Can track in My Top 50.  ‘I played the game, Still it’s not worth it’.  This just about sums it up.


Life In a Tin Can [1973]

Side 1
Saw a New Morning

I Don’t Wanna Be the One
South Dakota Morning
Living in Chicago

Side 2
While I Play

My Life Has Been a Song
Come Home Johnny Bridie
Method to My Madness

Singles 1973 [related to Life In a Tin Can]

Saw a New Morning
My Life Has Been a Song

-> A Kick in the Head is Worth Eight in the Pants
<- To Whom It May Concern

Bee Gees Top 50 1966-72
Bee Gees’ Home Page

Bee Gees – To Whom It May Concern

Not quite a coherent album, especially following Trafalgar, but one which definitely rewards repeated listens, To Whom It May Concern shows the Bee Gees firing pretty strongly during their so called wilderness years even if the album lacks a signature identity.

The two main singles are both in their familiar ballad vein but very contrasting – the smoothly reassuring Run to Me and the frantically persuasive Alive.   It’s perhaps surprising that the huge success of How Can You Mend a Broken Heart hasn’t inspired deeper ventures into smooth soul.  Run to Me really feels quite teenage beside How Can You Mend’s … silky, adult aspirations.

Elsewhere, the brothers search for new sounds and land on a number of touchstones.  Maurice is absurdly McCartnesque on You Know It’s For You, whilst Alan Kendall’s aggressive lead guitar propels Bad, Bad, Dreams into the crunchy spotlight.  Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings is one of the wackiest tracks but it shows the Bee Gees could still marry quirkiness to a decent tune and leave you to read into the weirdness as much or as little as you like.  But perhaps most surprising is the moog prog of Please Don’t Turn Out the Lights, the closest the brothers would come to truly experimental in this incarnation at least, though it’s far from the strongest track here.


So diversity and a slightly low key approach ensure To Whom It May Concern is never tiring like Cucumber Castle and rarely dull like 2 Years On but, taken overall, not brilliant either.   The main problem is a lack of overall plan or purpose, its scattergun approach feeling slightly cobbled together, pervaded with a sense of doubt as to whether anyone out there was listening let alone cared.

Not many fans or casual listeners will head for this album as their first Bee Gees port of call, but when you’ve exhausted the big hitters, there are some surprises to be found here and I think you’ll find To Whom It May Concern grows on you.


To Whom It May Concern [1972]

Side 1
Run To Me
We Lost the Road
Never Been Alone
Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings
I Can Bring Love
I Held a Party
Please Don’t Turn Out the Lights

Side 2
Sea of Smiling Faces
Bad Bad Dreams
You Know It’s For You
Road to Alaska
Sweet Song of Summer

Singles 1972 [related to To Whom It May Concern]

My World
On Time

Run to Me
Road to Alaska

Sea of Smiling Faces
Please Don’t Turn Out the Lights

Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings

->  Life In a Tin Can 
<-  Trafalgar

Bee Gees Top 50 1966-72
Bee Gees’ Home Page

Just wanted to say…

We begin this second selection of retro greetings cards with an atomic baby:

Happy 1st Birthday 1965

There’s a propogandist feel here.  Those eyes are looking forward to a new political dawn, the future light upon the face the glow of a protective atomic bomb.

I’m reminded of my mother telling me that two friends decided not to have children because, in the era of the Cuban missile crisis, the prospects for world peace looked so bleak.


Here is a playful take upon the paternal role in bringing up baby, again from 1965:

Giving Birth 1964

The handy father seems to be somehow supporting the pram.  This was back when prams still resembled spindly, nannyish devices from the Edwardian era (a year after Mary Poppins) not the armoured personnel carriers of today.


Staying with 1965:

Now You are 1 1965

That perenniel favourite, the cute kitten seen here with some kitsch acoutrements and hint of a Spanish holiday souvenir.


Now we are four and it’s 1968:

4 Today, 1968

Local newsagents were packed with cards like this.  The fezed monkey seems especially redolent of the time.


This has a decidely continental air:

Just for You, 1972

Slightly Bohemian, faux naive yet somehow also sophisticated.

Looking in shops today, I notice the very limited palette of most cards; often just one colour is used to offset monochrome and its typically red, pink, mauve in descending order.

But here vibrant, gypsy hues and an overall patterned design evoke European folk art.


This might be a scene from a Sunsilk shampoo advert.

Mother's Day 1974

The orange, nostalgic glow definitely pins this picture to the early-mid 70s.  1974 to be precise.


How many flowers can you fit into a dessert bowl?

Happy birthday card

Faking spontaneity, this sweet concoction would have been very carefully assembled indeed, probably with a little help from adhesive.  Its 1972 miniaturist precision is a million miles away from the boutique, long stemmed, au naturelle look of 2018.


We end with this wholesome scene from 1969:

Birthday child's 1966

A Little Something Especially for You


Moving House 
Growing up with Lego
Cuisenaire rods

Dr Who at Christmas: the 1970s Christmas omnibuses: Part 2

Ken Dodd’s ‘We Want to Sing’, those slightly grim visits to children’s hospital wards fronted by Leslie Crowther… Christmas television wasn’t all a bundle of fun for a child of the early 70s.  

But the Dr Who Omnibuses certainly were.  From 1971-75, these glorified adventures became a fixture of my childhood TV Christmas as much as (well, rather more than) the Blue Peter Christmas appeal, Disney Time and All Star Record Breakers. 

Part 1 gave an overview of the tradition.  Here I’m recalling the stories which made up Christmas omnibuses for 1971- The Dæmons, 1972 – The Sea Devils and 1973 – The Green Death.

1971: Dr Who and the Dæmons
Tuesday 28th December,

1.10 Grandstand – introduced by Frank Bough
3.55 Here’s Lucy
4.20 Dr Who and the Dæmons
5.50 National News: weatherman Jack Scott
6.00 Tom and Jerry

‘For the first time a complete adventure in one programme starring Jon Pertwee as Dr Who’  – Radio Times billing.


Spotting The Dæmons in Radio Times so completely unexpectedly just before Christmas excited me tremendously.  The anticipation of an hour and a half of my favourite story from my favourite TV programme totally out of the blue was a thrill almost beyond belief.  There was something amazing about Dr Who brightening a mere Tuesday too.

Even better, I’d missed episode two back in the Spring as it had coincided with our Whitson (rain and mumps) break at Lyme Regis in a bungalow which needless to say had no television.

Feature length fun

Note how the Radio Times billing, (which was accompanied by a Frank Bellamy illustration depicting the Master and the Doctor) highlights the omnibus’s feature film feel, encouraging the sense that it is a post-Christmas afternoon matinee treat for all the family to gather around and enjoy.

The 4.20pm start time (earliest ever for Doctor Who to date) meant I watched it with my parents almost throughout; in 1971, Christmas deamons-bylinewas still no more than a two day break from work for many people but this year Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th were Bank Holidays.

When it came to Dr Who, my father was fully signed up to The Daily Sketch’s maxim, ‘the children’s own programme which adults adore,’ dissenting only if it got ‘a bit too silly’ (Alpha Centauri was a bugbear).  He enjoyed and even admired the programme when he got the chance to see it and the relaxed schedule of Christmas offered an opportunity to really sit back and soak it all up.  My mother flitted in and out to prepare turkey sandwiches (well it was still the 70s) and slice Christmas cake as Azal ruminated on whether or not to sacrifice the Earth.

“A pleasing terror”

As drama dealing in the supernatural, Doctor Who relates to Christmas’ associations with darkness and magic.  This is especially true of The Dæmons.

The supernatural was a popular theme in film and television in the early 70s.  December 1970 had brought the unsettling Play for Today Robin Redbreast and it’s not insignificant that regular Christmas dramatisations of M.R.James ghost stories began in 1971.  Derek Johnston’s Haunted Seasons: Television Ghost Stories for Christmas and Horror for Halloween is an excellent account of this broadcast tradition.


The Dæmons had been the indisuputable highlight of Season Eight, or at least it was certainly seen that way at the time.  An expensive, location feel resembled British horror and supernatural films of the early 70s, meaning the serial lent itself extremely well to feature film format.

A reprise would remind audiences of the Master’s capture at the tale’s end, a storyline which would be followed up with the Doctor and Jo visiting an imprisoned Master in the following season’s The Sea Devils.

As a five parter, once titles and cliffhanger reprises were omitted, The Dæmons came in at just under two hours long, still a trifle longer than the average film.  Perhaps it was this, or the requirements of the schedule, which dictated a trim.

Approximately thirty-five minutes are lost to give an omnibus running time of ninety minutes.  So (forgetting cliffhangers and reprises) about a fifth of The Dæmons actual storyline has hit the cutting room floor.  I don’t think it has ever been revealed who decided what should be cut but Barry Letts must have had the final say.

The omnibus drew a very respectable audience of 10.5 million viewers, more than the average of 8.3 million who viewed the original showing.

ITV were showing a number of mostly children’s programmes in opposition.  As Thames viewers, we would have had The Charlie Brown Show, the always to be avoided Junior Showtime and radio-times-dr-who-daleks-jan-1972Magpie, none of which were competition for The Dæmons.

I still remember the sense of anticlimax when the final end credit of The Dæmons – ‘Directed by Christopher Barry’ – faded from the screen along with the ‘Dddrrrrrrrrrwwwrr!!!’

Still it was only four days to go before a brand new story began and in the meantime there was a Radio Times Frank Bellamy cover to study, depicting these strange ‘Daleks’ which, curiously, my parents were already familiar with.

1972: Dr Who and the Sea Devils
Wed 27th December, 3.05-4.45pm 

1.05 Grandstand – Introduced by Frank Bough
2.35 Screen Test
3.10 Dr Who and the Sea Devils
4.35 Thursday’s Child – 1/6 adaptation
5.05 A Collection of Goodies
5.30 National News
5.40 Tom and Jerry
5.45 Fifty Years of Music – or They Don’ Write ‘Em Like That Any More

‘The complete adventure in one programme starring Jon Pertwee as Dr Who’… ‘Now you can see again the whole of the Doctor’s struggle against the Master and the strange creatures from the bottom of the sea’ – Radio Times billing.

radio-times-christmas-1972Thump!  The Radio Times Christmas number lands on our doormat and I turn straight to the after Christmas listings and – yes!  As I had hoped, The Sea Devils is there.  At this point, my expectation of a tradition was established.

The billing is accompanied by a Frank Bellamy illustration and a caption bearing all the hallmarks of an enthusiastic but not very knowledgeable Radio Times staffer: ‘Time warp time – the Doc takes on the Master and the Sea Devils’.

No turkey  

Again, the choice of story is fervently the right one.  As Season Nine finale, The Time Monster was something of a damp squib: studio bound, experimental, too cerebral at times and a bit of a mess much of the time.

The Sea Devils was expansive, exciting, glossy, stylish, all round cracking entertainment.  With its flashy seafaring escapades, the most fondly remembered story of the 1972 Season ideally lent itself to feature film format.  And then there was that splendid swashbuckling swordfight between the Doctor and The Master.  Could that be a turkey sandwich Jon Pertwee is munching?sea-devils-byline

8.7 million viewers watched The Sea Devils in December, compared to an average of a little over eight million for the original Spring broadcast.

Meanwhile, Thames opted for an afternoon lineup of Looks Familiar (30s/40s nostalgia panel show) at 3pm, The Saint at 3.30, and at 4.25 Lift Off With Ayshea (Roger Whittaker, Olivia Newton John, 10C.C., and Frankie Stevens).

As a six-parter, an unedited transmission of The Sea Devils would have a running time of 2:30.  The omnibus clocks in at 1.40, representing a loss of approximately 50 minutes.

The Sea Devils omnibus was repeated again at 10.50am on Thursday 23rd August 1973 and again on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 1974 in place of a cricket match making it the most exposed Pertwee story within his tenure.

Who on standby

In other repeats, Day of the Daleks appeared in a one hour slot on Monday 3rd September 1973 in place of the European Athletics

It seemed as if Dr Who was becoming a reliable schedule filler.  As a child with no interest in sport, these totally ‘out of the blue’ reappearances had a magic of their own though why I was on hand to have seen them all, I cannot say.  It was almost as if, even in the middle of a summer morning, by wishing Dr Who were on, I made it happen.

After that breathtaking Christmas Sea Devils omnibus there would be only three days to wait for the new season.  My appetite had been whetted by the charismatic threesome adorning the New Year Radio Times cover.

1973: Dr Who: The Green Death
Thursday  27th December, 4.00-5.30pm 

1.00 Racing
2.30 The World of Jimmy Young
3.15 Penguin City – narrated by Peter Scott
4.00 Dr Who: The Green Death
5.30 National News
5.40 Tom and Jerry
5.45 Top of the Pops – Ten Years of Pop Music, 1964-74 with Jimmy Saville

‘A complete adventure in one programme starring Jon Pertwee as Dr. Who.  Deep in an abandoned coalmine the Doctor faces the hideous result of industrial pollution.  Now you can see once more the whole story of the terrible threat of the giant maggots’ – Radio Times billing.

radio-times-christmas-19731973 was the Christmas of The Goodies and the Beanstalk shown at 5.15pm on Christmas Eve on BBC-2.  But even The Goodies at their best was trumped by a repeat of my favourite Dr Who story to date.

Yes, the one with the maggots.  What lovely Christmas viewing to accompany a nation collectively munching on cold turkey sandwiches.

Radio Times this time features a two panel photo-strip to accompany the billing which shows Pertwee in close-up declaring: “The maggots are all over the place!” whilst in the second panel Jo and Cliff, clambering over rocks within sight of a giant maggot, exclaim: “…come on let’s get out of here!’

BBC-1 New Season!

The 1974 season of Dr Who began not on the first Saturday of the New Year (as had been the case on 3rd January 1970, 2nd January 1971 and 1st January 1972) but two weeks before that on 15th December 1973 meaning that The Green Death omnibus fell, somewhat inconveniently, between episodes 2 and 3 of The Time Warrior.

This inauspicious timing removed some of the impetus behind a repeat as curtain-raiser to a new season, especially as Jo Grant was now a Season Ten throwback having left at the end of The Green Death.  

Green Christmas 

The Green Death was by far my favourite story of Season Ten and my favourite Dr Who story to date.  I was thrilled that it, not, as I had feared The Three Doctors, was picked as the Christmas omnibus.  The 10th anniversary story featuring William Hartnell and Patrick green-death-bylineTroughton was of course a major landmark and had a pantomime whimsicality which lent itself well to Christmas.  But no, there’s nothing like a Welsh coal mine full of giant green maggots to brighten a Yuletide afternoon.  I suspect Barry Letts would have been especially keen to push for The Green Death as the serial aired many of his environmental concerns.

For all its high revulsion factor and ecological proselytising, The Green Death also had an unusually emotional storyline: the developing romance between Jo Grant and the young Professor Jones.  At the end of episode six, Jo accepts Cliff’s proposal of marriage, leaving the Doctor to drive off alone into the sunset.  This affecting side to the story and its tear jerking culmination makes for an appropriately heart-warming story for Christmas.

Galloping home

I vividly recall being so excited seeing The Green Death again that I could hardly tear myself away to go to the toilet (though you’ll be pleased to know I did).  I can remember galloping downstairs three steps at a time to get back to the sofa.

As a six-parter, The Green Death would have been 2.30 in episode format, so, approximately 60 minutes have been lost, unfortunately a more major incision than The Sea Devils’.

The audience was a healthy 10.4 million viewers, substantially more than the average of 7.7 million who viewed the original broadcast.

Thames gave us at 4.20pm Children of Eskdale, a re-showing of Barry Cockcroft’s acclaimed documentary and at 5.20pm Lift Off With Ayshea (Slade, New World and The All Night Rock Show sing ’20 Fantastic Sounds’).

The start of the new Dr Who season had still been marked by a Radio radio-times-pertwee-et-al-dec-1973Times cover (the pre-Christmas edition) which was perhaps not the best but at least Pertwee was centre stage.  So it seemed as if the Radio Times tradition was confidently continuing along with the omnibuses.  More than that, there was November’s brilliant Radio Times Dr Who 10th Anniversary Special to enjoy and the 1974 Dr Who Annual courtesy of Father Christmas.

Next week, I’ll conclude with a look back to the omnibuses of 1974 and 1975, Planet of the Spiders and Genesis of the Daleks, and speculate as to why the tradition ended there.

Dr Who 1970s’ Christmas Omnibuses Part 1
Dr Who 1970s’ Christmas Omnibuses Part 3


The Casuals: with Jesamine gone, 1970-76

1970/71: the end of the Decca years

Come early 1970, over eighteen months since the release of Jesamine and with a clutch of unsuccessful singles behind them (not to mention a commercially unsuccessful album), Decca still believed the band had a future.

Stalwart Ivor Raymonde was recruited for May 1970’s My Name Is Love (co-written by Chris Andrews) b/w John Tebb’s I Can’t Say.  Sales were over too long a period to chart and both slightly plodding songs comprise The Casuals’ weakest single to date.

On live dates, Chris Evans stood in for Howard Newcomb who was ill and when bassist Alan Taylor and drummer Bob O’Brien left in 1970, Evans became a permanent member, along with Lloyd Courtney.

Roger Grey and Steve Wallace joined the band in October 1970.

Tony Hiller (of Brotherhood of Man fame) became producer with Tebb’s eminently commercial Some Day Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady, recorded in December 1970 and released as a single in January 1971.

By now, The Casuals had grown their hair and favoured a more, well, ‘casual’ look for the 70s.

Along with changes in line-up and an updated image, the catchy Some Day Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady marked a new sound for the group, linking into bubblegum and the current rock ‘n’ roll revival mood while still sounding fresh.  A ‘toy’ feel remains given the deliberately lightweight production and there is some chirrupy laughter during the instrumental break.  The contrasting B-side was Newcomb’s A Letter Every Month, a fine song which deserved more exposure.  The single sadly made little impact.

The Decca demos

I have several demos made by the band during that 1970/71 period at Decca with either Tony Hiller, David Hitchcock or Peter Sames as producer.

Casuals, Sunday Morning Coming


Some sources show Hey Mary b/w Kris Kristofferson’s Sunday Morning Coming was recorded November/December 1970 whereas mine is stamped with a February 1971 date.

Hang On To Your Life (the Guess Who song from 1970?) b/w Let Him Live was possibly recorded November 1970.  I don’t know as I don’t have this one.

Everything’s Alright b/w/Peace Is All You Need with Peter Sames producing at Decca’s West Hampstead studios was recorded in June 1971 according to my single-sided demo though some sources say May 1971.

Who Trevor was, we might never know.

I would say all three are highly respectable interpretations of moderately strong songs with fairly low-key arrangements (no orchestra now though these are, of course, demos) suggesting some commercial potential.  The overall flavour is a kind of pop take on folk-rock or, in the case of ‘Sunday Morning Coming’, gentle country-rock.

For a while, a second album was in the offing but this was not to be and following a prolonged period of a lack of commercial success, The Casuals were dropped by Decca in 1971.

Label to label

June 1972 marked a move to Parlaphone for Tara Tiger Girl b/w Nature’s Child written by the band’s Chris Evans and with a Move-like bouncy-stomp.

There was an American Jam single for which the band were renamed American Jam Band though as both singles had the same B-side, the link was obvious.  According to John Tracy’s sleeve notes for 1991’s Casuals CD compilation, the group was probably Chris Evans and Rob Moore AKA Kansas Hook/ American Jam Band.  AnyCasuals The Witch resemblance to Jesamine is entirely accidental.

They took a punt on progressive label Dawn in June 1974 for The Witch (written by the band’s Chris Evans) b/w Good Times, both sides produced by Robin Blanchflower.  ‘The Witch’ is a last ditch attempt to be heavy (‘black eyed queen you’re the devil’s machine’) and ‘Good Times’ has zingy snyth but neither convince.

The Casuals were consigned to the cabaret circuit now that the hits had very much dried up.  They disbanded in 1976.

Fragments of an afterlife

A spell of session singing followed for John and then involvement in Big John’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus by John Goodison, founder of Brotherhood of Man.  Tebb left for France in 1987, worked solo in the south of France and, last heard of, still fronts a number of bands.  Rockafantazia profile of John Tebb (scroll down a little).

Bassist Alan Taylor had a spell with Italian jazz oriented group Ping-Pong  in the early 70s, re-emerging as Bulldog.

Taylor surfaced again for a 1977 single Song for Magdalena in 1977 which you can read as a sort of mid-70s Casuals sound.  It is smoothly competent but strains for a certain ambitiousness it cannot quite muster.

A 1982 single appeared in Italy on Polydor, Out of My Mind b/w Take Your Time credited to Casuals with music and lyrics by Alan Taylor.  I haven’t heard a copy.

Alan was involved with various Euro disco projects for a number of years.  He passed away in Italy in 2011.

On and off the record

Two CD compilations of The Casuals have been released.

Jesamine: The Casuals [Decca, 1991, Deram 820 990-2] offers eighteen tracks and sleeve notes by John Tracy.

The Very Best of the Casuals [Karusell, 1996, 552 088-2] is the superior collection, providing 20 tracks and a better selection from Hour World  though Brian Gammidge’s sleeve notes  are perfunctory (this was only ever a budget release).

The 1991 compilation is no longer available but is worth getting hold of for several tracks which don’t appear on the later comp, namely Don’t Dream of Yesterday, Touched, I Can’t Say and A Letter Every Month.  

As I mentioned in an earlier post on The Casuals, Shapes & Sounds 2: Shades of Deepest Purple from the BBC archives 1967-1971 [Top Sounds, 2008, TSSCD 003] provides interesting insights into the band live and by far the most comprehensive sleeve notes on the group’s history, with some colourful reproductions of memorabilia for good measure though, be warned, the text is tiny!

There is still plenty of room for a definitive compilation which gathers together all the single A and B-sides – including the European only ones – Hour World in its entirety, the leftover album tracks and the 1970/71 Decca demos.

Further loose ends

A few years ago I caught a request for a Casuals song on Sounds of the 60s by a former group member.  I think the requester was John Tebb, and if I remember correctly, the request wasn’t for ‘Jesamine’.

I think John may have entertained on cruise ships and in hotels and bars in the south of France for at least a few years.

According to their joint Facebook page  Howard lives now in Manchester and John in the south of France.

The Stoke Sentinel reports that The Casuals and Herman’s Hermits played a charity gig for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Knutton.

The Casuals Official Site

But we’ve not finished with The Casuals yet…

Ten of the Best from The Casuals

CORRECTION 26 Feb 2016:  I inadvertently reversed the A/B sides of ‘Tara Tiger Girl’/’Natures’ Child’.  Sorry about that.  The text now shows the A-side correctly as ‘Tara Tiger Girl’.

Previous posts on The Casuals

The Casuals: beyond Jesamine
The Casuals: before Jesamine: 1961- mid 1968
Jesamine Part 1

Jesamine Part 2
When Jesamine Goes: Singles 1968/69

Hour World 1969

Lynsey De Paul – No Honestly!

Embed from Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul died yesterday at the age of 64.

She was one of those early-mid 70s figures who always seemed to be ‘around’ whether as a Whodunnit panellist (I got her muddled with Anouska Hempel) or as a Top of the Pops regular and, I would imagine, the musical interlude in countless comedy and variety series, introduced as ‘And now, adding a little glamour to proceedings, it’s the lovely – Lynsey De Paul!’.  But that is how it was for many women in the 70s, set to play second fiddle to the men.

Like many young males at the time, I was probably a little in love with Lynsey De Paul.  As well as glamour, she had a cheekiness and a slight air of mystique as if willingly trapped in the femme fatale role she often chose for herself.   She was looking to be rescued by a knight in shining armour.  There was a definite coy sexuality at play too as some of her record sleeves show (1974 album Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me and 1975’s frankly tacky Love Bomb though chart success was proving a little more elusive by this time).  Her music often had a 20s/30s feel which wasn’t uncommon in the early 70s.  It was the way to go if you were pure pop rather than glam or prog.

Three Sugars

Today I’ve listened to the three songs of Lynsey De Paul’s which I remember best:  Sugar Me [1972], Won’t Somebody Dance With Me [1973] and No Honestly [1974].  It’s probably the first time I’ve heard all three in nearly forty years.

I’m quite surprised that Sugar Me was her breakthrough single as it doesn’t really seem to do a lot beyond that cutely, boppy feel. It comes and goes without leaving much of a trace, well maybe a sweet aftertaste.

Won’t Somebody Dance With Me (why never a question mark at the end?) took the period mood to greater lengths and appropriately perhaps, won an Ivor Novello Award.  Inspired by Gilbert O’Sullivan’s pre-pop style, it’s coyly enticing with a pretty melody sung in Lynsey’s demurely sultry voice and is easily the best of these three songs.  It also forms my most personal associations of Lynsey De Paul and a memory of a particular weekday afternoon around late 1973.  A friend of mine, Richard, had bought the single and wanted to play it to me after school one day.  He was hugely excited about it.  So we sat on the floor beside his sister’s record player, he put the needle on the record and the music played.  He was clearly in love with Lynsey and, I think, with the song’s air of fatalistic romance.

No Honestly was the theme to the London Weekend sitcom of the same name and is still insanely castanet-catchy.  I used to tune in just to hear the theme at the start and was disappointed when the ‘No’ became ‘Yes’ and a new, hugely forgettable theme, Yes Honestly, replaced Lynsey’s.

It’s been said that she wrote a song for the 1983 Conservative Election Campaign, or was it the Party Conference?  I’m hugely relieved to find there is no trace of it.

So these three De Paul songs will suffice for me though I’d swap Sugar Me for Storm In a Teacup (which she co-wrote) if it could be The Fortunes‘ version.

There are a couple of 2CD compilations if you want the full Lynsey.

Lynsey de Paul – 11th June 1958 – 1st October 2014

More Take Three Songs

Take Three Songs… on Blackpool
Take Three Songs… by David Bowie
Take Three Songs… by Cilla Black
Take Three Songs… or early 60s instrumentals
Take Three Songs… on Suburbia