PETER, PAUL AND MARY – “Too Much Of Nothing”
Everybody knocks Peter, Paul and Mary – they’ve sold out to commercialism! Not ethical! Safe as milk! So scream the fools’ chorus.

Be that as it may, the time I saw them live they were tremendous, and even the purists were yelling for encores with the best of them at the end.

They have something to say, and this single, a new Dylan composition, is their best ever. It’s a very personal, melancholy song made up of two contrasting styles. Half the time it’s brash and beaty, rather like the Mamas and The Papas at their best with bitter lyrics of disillusionment and despair.

Then there is the soft, plaintive chorus sung in moving harmony. Everyone I’ve played this record to raves about it. But when you come to think about it people just don’t seem to buy progressive works of art on singles.

So I suppose that “Too Much Of Nothing” will be another wonderful record seized by John Peel and rejected by the mass of record buyers. I hope I’m wrong.

THE BACHELORS – “If Ever I Would Leave You”
I’m told that this is the outstanding song from Camelot. So no doubt The Bachelors will pick up the gravy yet again with a nice unremarkable bit of musical candyfloss.

They’ve obviously been put off going progressive for ever by the lack of success of “3 O’Clock Flamingo Street”, which was very sad indeed. “If Ever I Would Leave You” is a shade quieter than the usual Bachelors, but nevertheless full rein is given to the eyes-heavenward, dig-the-Irish-charm bit.

You can hear all the words and you couldn’t get nicer music to soothe the fevered brows of the old school. Probably a medium-sized hit, but not, I’m afraid with your very own friendly record reviewer.

“Am I That Easy To Forget?” the man asks. No mate, not with a name like that! However, the record . . . About twenty times as groovy as “The Last Waltz”, but even so, how can it be anything but a huge hit?

The melody has considerably more to it and Engelbert seems to have started to move away from the corny rent-a-tune schmaltz of his other records. The orchestration by Les Reed is more subtle, despite the efforts of a heavenly choir to turn the whole shebang into a singalong gala night.

There’s some very tasteful jazzy piano a la Sounds Orchestral popping up in a couple of places, and Engelbert’s voice seems to have come to life a bit. This record is quite an improvement all round.

THE WILDWEEDS – “It Was Fun While It Lasted”
This I like very much. It’s slightly sophisticated soul music with sweeping strings and controlled, urgent singing above and insistent beat.

There’s none of the frantic “Come on, children!” sort of melodramatics. As a result, it’s the music and nothing more that generates the excitement – and there’s plenty.

I shouldn’t think anyone in Britain, apart from the record company, has heard of The Wildweeds, but this single will alter the situation. The Wildweeds are pretty wild, but nobody could accuse them of being weedy!

THE BEACH BOYS – “Darlin'”
“Wild Honey”, the last release from the ex-Kings of Surf, bombed completely. “Darlin'” is a sort of watered-down “Wild Honey”, part two, with a touch of soul.

Although it’s a fine record, it’ll probably get just about as much chart success as its predecessor. It’s too simple and uncomplicated. A nice overall sound is vital, but you have to have more than that to show a clean pair of heels to Des O’Connor and Engelbert.

What happened to the creative magic of Brian Wilson that gave us such a string of goodies ranging from “I Get Around” to “Good Vibrations”? Don’t get me wrong, “Darlin'” isn’t a bad record but The Beach Boys aren’t showing us their true colours on it. Give us something new, Brian.

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