Dad’s Vinyl #6: Eloise

Some 60’s records get played over and over again, like ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ (you know the sort of record), and others just seem to have disappeared. I hadn’t even heard of this song until The Damned released their version in 1986, and got to #3 in the charts, and I’ve not heard it since.

'Eloise' by Barry Ryan, 7" single

‘Eloise’ by Barry Ryan

This is a properly mad record.

Barry’s singing starts off mildly frantic and breathlessly over-enunciated,  and 5 minutes later he’s sounding like a man with his extremities on fire and a gun to his head. The music is similarly ridiculous, arranged to within an inch of its life, with parping horn sections, angelic choirs, two drummers (one in each ear) and ending with a climax balancing on top of another, larger climax, balanced on a pyramid made of loud bits.

It is gloriously silly.

 

 

And for comparison, here is the Damned’s version.

Dad’s Vinyl: #4 This Old Heart Of Mine

Going through Dad’s old singles, I’m surprised at how much R&B there is. These days it seems he mostly listens to Don Henley. Back then – his late teens, early twenties – there was a fair bit of soul: some Marvin, Pickett, Smokey, Supremes, and a couple of singles by The Isley Brothers.

This Old Heart Of Mine - The Isley Brothers , 7" single

This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You) – The Isley Brothers

The Isley brothers may not one of the first bands you think of when you think of Soul/R&B , but they’ve been having hits since the 1950’s, and are amazingly still going (although they are now down to just 2 members, the others lost to death, illness or religion).

This was their second big hit, from the brief time they were signed to Tamla and had Lamont and Dozier writing, and the Funk Brothers playing.  A lot of Motown and Tamla singles from this time sound similar, not surprising when they were written and played – and often produced – by the same few people. The real character of the piece comes from the singer, in this case Ronald Isley, and what a singer he is. His voice is silky smooth, but not too smooth, there’s a bit of grit in there too.

A few hit-free years after this, they left Motown to (re)start their own label and had a big hit with ‘It’s your thing‘, which is ridiculously funky, and which went on to sell a million copies, which singles could do back in those days.