Archives » The Troggs

Friday on my Mind 112: Painter Man

A small hit in the UK (no 36) but a no 8 in Germany. The track has echoes of The Troggs and The Who of I’m a Boy and prefigures the Roy Wood era Electric Light Orchestra. The video features “guitarist” Eddie Phillips playing his instrument with a violin bow – reputedly the first to do so – a major contributor to the record’s sound. Another antecedent of Prog Rock?

Phillips had also used this technique on their previous single, Making Time.

The Creation: Painter Man

Not Friday On My Mind 23: Night of the Long Grass

In one of my early posts about The Troggs I mentioned a promotional film they made while walking about in a forest and that I could no longer find it on the web.

Well, now I have – except their stripy jackets are nowhere in evidence.

The Troggs:-Night of the Long Grass (forest video)

Live It Up 5: Punch and Judy

The place The Troggs had for me in the 60s and Sweet in the early 70s was taken by Marillion in the early 80s.

Marillion have been forever tagged with the Prog Rock label and while their first songs – especially the 17 minute long Grendel and most of the debut album Script For a Jester’€™s Tear – fit that bill (which was why I got into them in the first place) by the time of Fugazi they had mainly moved on to a more guitar based rock sound.

Their initial success, though, shows that Prog wasn’t as moribund a genre as its detractors would have had it.

Mind you their third and fourth LPs, Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws were those most Prog of things, concept albums (though arguably one concept album spread over two releases.)

I think I first saw them on television on The Oxford Road Show (who remembers that!) when this was one of the songs they played. Despite it being from Fugazi there is still a hint of Prog and echoes of Genesis.

This clip, though, is from Top of the Pops. Check out Fish – with hair!

Marillion: Punch and Judy

Friday On My Mind 81: RIP Reg Presley

I’ve said before that for a while in the Sixties The Troggs were my favourite band so I was sad to hear of the death of lead singer and composer of a fair few of their hits, Reg Presley, earlier this week.

Thinking about it, it occurred to me that, with the sparseness of the arrangements in the raunchier part of their output, they were a kind of proto punk band.

Lyrically The Troggs sometimes came close to the knuckle – see I Can’€™t Control Myself.

This song took that tendency to new heights depths.

It is the outright blatant Give It To Me.

The Troggs:- Give It To Me

Reg Presley (Reginald Maurice Ball,) 12/6/1941 -€“ 4/2/2013. So it goes.

Not Friday On My Mind 14: Anyway That You Want Me

Speaking of The Troggs, this was the first of their singles that I bought. Almost the first single I ever bought, it being two or so years since the previous one.

An example of the group’s more tender tendency.

The Troggs: Anyway That You Want Me

Reelin’€™ In The Years 30: The Six Teens

If The Troggs were my musical vice of the 1960s the band which took that role in the 1970s was The Sweet.

Their early hits were mostly rubbish created by the songwriters Chinn and Chapman (who also were responsible for the band Mud and wrote for Suzi Quatro among others) but The Sweet began to hit their stride when they moved away from directly appealing to the young “teenybopper”€ market in 1973 with the harder edged Blockbuster which started off their biggest run of chart success.

Examination of their B-sides – which they wrote themselves, and leaned toward heavy rock -€“ reveals more than a degree of casual sexism: a feature mostly absent in the bands they aspired to emulate.

Some sources have it that lead singer Brian Connolly was related to the actor who played Taggart, Mark McManus. As Wiki says that Connolly was fostered this would not quite be the case.

The Six Teens was the most lyrically interesting of their big 1973/4 hits, referencing the disturbances of 1968, but it was the start of their popular decline.

The Sweet: The Six Teens, apparently live.

Not Friday On My Mind 13: I Can’t Control Myself

As a gimmick goes, stripy jackets wasn’t very cool, was it?

The Troggs: I Can’t Control Myself

Not Friday On My Mind 7: With A Girl Like You

This was the first Troggs song I was really aware of; Wild Thing was before my family got a portable radio.

They’re wearing stripy jackets again! And stripy trousers.

The Troggs: With A Girl Like You

Not Friday On My Mind 6: Wild Thing

I’ve mentioned before that for a short while the Troggs were my favourite band. (We’re all young once.)

This song leans almost entirely to their raunchy side except for the breathiness of the, “Wild Thing, I think I love you/Come on, hold me tight/You move me,” lines and the ocarina solo.

The clip once more puts the lie to the story that until videos came along there were no promotional films for singles. Unfortunately the first few chords and words are missing but note the Troggs uniform, stripy jackets and trousers.

Reg Presley would also give David Gray a close run in the strange-movement-of-the-head stakes.

The Troggs: Wild Thing

The Troggs

For a short while in the sixties The Troggs were my favourite band. (I was young, OK? My musical tastes were relatively unformed.) They have, however, left a lasting legacy – not least on REM, see Athens Andover and this video, which I have featured before – and are credited by some on You Tube as being punk ten years before it happened. To my mind that description’s a bit simplistic, though.

In retrospect they were quite a peculiar band. Their catalogue is actually a strange mixture of stripped down raunch (I Can’t Control Myself, Give It To Me) and the sentimental (Anyway That You Want Me, Love Is All Around, Little Girl.)

Usually these two strands were kept separate with different tracks falling into one category or the other but they could make the jump between them in the one song. Wild Thing has a crude, thumping but insistent beat and a more than suggestive breathiness in the “Come on. Hold Me Tight,” bits but then suddenly in the middle it breaks off into an almost delicate ocarina solo.

I remember a film of the single below from the time of its release with the group walking about in a forest or something in their trademark striped jackets but that doesn’€™t seem to be on You Tube any more. (I’€™m sure it was, the last time I looked.) Anyway, here’€™s the creeping menace that is Night of the Long Grass.

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