I must confess, until this weekend, I knew nothing of the 1967 British hit "Days of Pearly Spencer" or its auteur, folkie David McWilliams.
McWilliams died in 2002, and according to that Wiki link, over the years he suffered somewhat from comparisons to Donovan (I don't much hear it from that song, I should say). He was pretty well known in Europe, though, and "Pearly Spencer" was apparently a much bigger hit in 1992 for that guy from Soft Cell.
In any case, my friend David Klein, currently doing business over at the terrific music blog Merry Swankster, sent me the link to the audio of this the other day, and I was immediately taken with it. (The song was apparently arranged and produced by the late Mike Leander, who did the string stuff for Marianne Faithfull's original "As Tears Go By" and the Beatles "She's Leaving Home.")
Dave says he hears a sort of Ralph McTell "Streets of London" before its time. Me, I get an uncomfortable whiff of Bob Lind and "Elusive Buterfly of Love," but there's something compelling about the damn thing I can't shake.
What do you think? (BTW -- if you want an mp3, give me a holler).