When your dear old grannie used to wander down to Woolworths to buy her dear grandson/daughter a record, chances are she'd come back with one of these little gems - a feature of the UK record scene in the 70s, on which various sessions musicians would (try to) recreate the top hits of the moment. The covers invariably featured a scantily-clad young woman, which probably (for an adolescent lad) was the best bit of the package. Usually pretty dreadful versions, but occasionally a few of them weren't too bad. Old Reg Dwight (aka Sir Elton John), before he made it big, apparently played on a few of these shockers, but not I think any of these featured here.
I have recently been contacted by a member of the Strawbs (who shall be nameless, though identifiable by his distinctive two tone hairstyle) as follows:
"Hi Dick, I've just seen the web-site and I have a terrible secret to reveal. In the late 60's, I actually sang on some of those recordings myself. I don't remember too many details, but I do remember singing Gin House [Amen Corner's hit, I think - spooky connection - DG] on one or other of those compilations. It was like a conveyor belt, no re-takes, one track after another, all done and dusted in a couple of hours. Whether or not they were TOTP albums I can't remember, but I am guilty as charged. The only defence I have is that I was a poor, struggling, young musician. Nothing's changed. .... It's not so embarrassing 35 years later."
So... those of us who frequent the bargain bins of old record shops, let's try and find some examples of DL's secret past.
"Lay Down", "Part Of The Union" x4, "Shine On Silver Sun", "Pick Up The Pieces" respectively
When your dear old grannie used to wander down to Woolworths to buy her dear grandson/daughter a record for Christmas or a birthday, chances are she'd come back with one of these little gems - a feature of the UK record scene in the 70s, on which various sessions musicians would (try to) recreate the top hits of the moment. The covers invariably featured a scantily-clad young woman, which probably (for an adolescent lad) was the best bit of the package. Poor old dear, she thought she was doing the right thing, getting you a good selection of today's big hits! Sadly, she wasn't to know that they were usually pretty dreadful covers, though now and again one of them wasn't too bad. Old Reg Dwight (aka Sir Elton John), before he made it big, apparently played on a few of these shockers, but not I think any of these featured here.
Thanks to various folks who have passed on these valuable items to me, in order that they can be "experienced" by all.
Any more examples, please let me know and I'll feature them on this page.
Starts out not too bad in terms of instrumentation, with a nice fuzz guitar, though no-one can really match Dave's vocal style and this guy sure ain't going to do it - he has a transatlantic twang, and audibly struggles to adopt a British accent on e,.g. "pastures new". The lyrics go a bit astray in the second verse ""in the road I had enough", and it soon transpires that the guitarist really hasn't got the Lambert chord sequence right at all. Oh dear.
Part Of The Union - Take 1
Not a bad effort, though a little bass drum-heavy. Starts out sounding as though it'll be a reasonable impersonation of John, but his Northern English "company" gives him away. The piano solo is hopelessly out of time with the backing (or vice versa - who knows)! Captures the essential feel of the song, though, particularly on the choruses. It was obviously considered good enough to make the Europe Edition.
Part Of The Union - Take 2
Shine On Silver Sun
Not many saving graces to this I'm afraid: here the vocalist (I think it's the same guy as for Lay Down) is so far from a Cousins' soundalike as can be imagined. To add insult to injury, I know we sometimes struggle (in the absence of lyric sheets) to to ABSOLUTELY certain what Dave is singing, but this guy has got it so so wrong it's embarassing (see below, particularly the third verse which is just completely wrong).
The bass is pretty Cronk-like, which is pretty much all that can be said for this turkey.
Once I sat upon a hill
Once I sat a-lonely here
Pick Up The Pieces (Hudson Ford)
Another cover that does a reasonable job. The vocals and harmonies are pretty good apart from the "a-ha a-ha" bit and there's no dodgy words.