Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember the Great Folk Scare of the Sixties? That Shit Almost Caught On!

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).


Kid Charlemagne said...

Ha, Leander also co-wrote some of the biggest hits for Gary "thank heavens for little girls" Glitter

CovetedNOPrizeWinnerWithOakLeafCluster said...

He was a natural Elvis impersonator. Scratch that. But, if you ignore the gestures and voice, he looks like Elvis.

Re: the song, it sort of reminds me of In the Year 2525.

Kid Charlemagne said...

Damn it, Steve! Why did you remind me of "Elusive Butterfly of Love." It was *almost* erased from my memory banks!

Anonymous said...

Does nothing for me.

The strings are interesting, the only thing I find interesting in the recording.


Anonymous said...

a classic from 1967...the BBC refused to play it ( on the recently created plastic Radio One ) because David McWilliams was managed by Philip Solomon , then director of Radio Caroline...thankfully much airplay on Caroline made it a huge European hit (though only a UK no.23).
If his reminds you of 'Elusive Butterfly' you really shouldn't be writing a music blog.