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Not Friday on my Mind 56: There’s a Kind of Hush – RIP Les Reed

Songwriter (well, tune writer: he collaborated with lyricists to complete his songs) Les Reed died last week.

Writing for the likes of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, Reed was never the most credible with the rock crowd but he helped create a formidable catalogue of notable songs of the 1960s.

It’s Not Unusual, The Last Waltz, I’m Coming Home, Delilah and I Pretend all made No 1 or 2, not a bad achievement for anybody – even if these were mostly bought by Mums and Dads.

Then there’s this song from 1967 (lyric by Geoff Stephens,) and later recorded by The Carpenters.

Herman’s Hermits: There’s a Kind of Hush

Leslie David (Les) Reed: 24/7/1935 – 15/4/2019. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 55: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

This is another record on which Hal Blaine (see last week’s post) played drums, the song one of the fruits of Sinatra’s working relationship with Lee Hazlewood.

This video is something else. OK, I get the fact that the performers’ boots were being emphasised, but the skirts didn’t need to be so short for that did they?

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

Not Friday on my Mind 54: For Pete’s Sake. RIP Peter Tork

Sad news again. This time it is Peter Tork of The Monkees who has joined the great lost band in the sky.

He played keyboards and bass in the band – once they were finally allowed to play on their records – but was cast as the least intellectually gifted of the four fictional band members; a role which I believe came to irritate him.

He was, though, a capable musician and wrote a few of the band’s songs including the one which ran under the TV show’s closing credits, For Pete’s Sake.

End Credits. (They all look so young.):-

This is a fuller version of the song, taken from the band’s third album Headquarters.

The Monkees: For Pete’s Sake

Peter Halsten Thorkelson (Peter Tork): 13/2/1942 –21/2/2019. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 53: I See the Rain. RIP Dean Ford

I was sad to hear the news of the death of Dean Ford, lead singer of (The) Marmalade (once known as Dean Ford and the Gaylords,) the first Scottish group to have a no 1 in the UK. To make it, of course, they had to leave Scotland and move to London where their initial efforts under their original name didn’t meet with much joy. Calling themselves The Marmalade also didn’t bring instant success. It was only when they adopted a more pop profile – and with songs written by others – that they achieved a measure of success, peaking with that no. 1, a cover of The Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

Ford was no mean song writer though. Along with fellow band member Junior Campbell he wrote Reflections of My Life, Rainbow, and My Little One, hits between 1969 and 1971.

Plus this pre-success psychedelia-tinged song, said to be Jimi Hendrix’s favourite of 1967.

The Marmalade: I See the Rain

Thomas McAleese (Dean Ford): 5/9/1946 – 31/12/2018. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 52: Magic Carpet Ride

Steppenwolf’s other well known track. Never a hit in the UK. Then again, Born To Be Wild only reached no 30.

This seems to be a live performance of the album version with additional film inserts. There’s a touch more psychedelia than I’d remembered.

Steppenwolf: Magic Carpet Ride

Not Friday on my Mind 51: Ride My Seesaw

Previously all my Moody Blues posts have been of Justin Hayward songs. Neither he nor the writer of this, John Lodge, were original members of the band when it had its number one hit Go Now but replaced Denny Laine and Clint Warwick after a subsequent lack of chart success led to that pair leaving the band.

It was the arrival of Lodge and Hayward though which coincided with a change of direction – to which they made a significant contribution.

This video is a clip from the BBC2 late night programme Colour Me Pop partly introduced to showcase the then new colour TV broadcasts. Note the psychedelic effects. The Moody Blues’ appearance on the show was on 14th September 1968. I either watched it at the time of its first broadcast or on a reasonably quick repeat. Despite doing nothing but singing (or miming) on the clip Ray Thomas still manages to give an extravagant performance.

Though this track was written by Lodge it is Hayward’s guitar solo and the group’s signature vocal sound which stand out. The song quickly became a staple of the group’s live shows, more or less the band’s signature tune.

The Moody Blues: Ride My Seesaw

Not Friday on my Mind 49: Legend of a Mind. RIP Ray Thomas

Ray Thomas, who died this week was a multi-instrumentalist not very well-served by most of the time on stage with The Moody Blues merely flourishing a tambourine or otherwise not seeming to do very much. That perception would be to undervalue him greatly.

It was his contribution as a flautist where he really counted, a contribution that only added to the already distinctive sound of the band. As a flautist in a rock band he was for a while unique. (Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull came along later as did Peter Gabriel with Genesis.) That flute embellished mightily the power of Nights in White Satin, the song which became emblematic of the revamped Moody Blues.

A founder member of the band in its first (bluesy) incarnation – Go Now etc – his solid bass voice enhanced the vocal harmonies which were so much a part of the re-incarnated band’s sound.

For some odd reason there seemed to be a regular order of song-writers in those early albums by the “new” Moodies with Thomas always having song three* on side one as one of his spots.

Among his songs were Another Morning*, Twilight Time, Dr Livingstone, I Presume?*, Dear Diary*, Lazy Day, Floating*, Eternity Road, with his collaborations with Justin Hayward, Visions of Paradise and Are You Sitting Comfortably? being especially memorable.

It was song five, side one on In Search of the Lost Chord, though, that was his apotheosis. That song was Legend of a Mind with a lyric about Timothy Leary and supposed mind expansion, “Timothy’ Leary’s dead, No, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in.” Apparently Leary once told Thomas the song made him more famous than anything he had ever done for himself.

But who needed drugs when music itself could be this transportive?

Here’s a promotional film for Legend of a Mind made around the time of its first release. Thomas’s flute solo here is sublime.

The Moody Blues: Legend of a Mind

Ray Thomas: 29/12/1941 – 4/1/2018. So it goes. Thanks for the trips round the bay.

Not Friday on my Mind 47: Heaven and Hell. RIP George Young

Glasgow born George Young, member and songwriter (with Harry Vanda) of The Easybeats, after whose biggest hit this strand on my blog is named, has died.

His contribution to the Easybeats would alone have been enough to secure his standing in the history of rock music – especially Australian rock – but he subsequently was songwriter and producer for others, including AC/DC.

The Easybeats: Heaven and Hell

George Redburn Young: 6/11/1946 – 22/10/2017. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 45: What Am I Doing Hanging Round?

For some reason this song came into my head this week.

Good enough reason to feature it here as a typical example of The Monkees’ ability to bang out a good tune. (Or or their handlers’ ability to pick one.)

The Monkees: What Am I Doing Hanging Round?

Not Friday On My Mind 35: RIP Cilla Black

I know it’s not good form to speak ill of the dead but I’m afraid I can’t share the “National Treasure” stuff surrounding the passing of Cilla Black. She was undoubtedly a substantial entertainment figure of the 1960s though, with several big hits and many smaller ones. Yet to my mind her singing voice became too harsh when she upped the volume. In softer tones she could be quite effective though.

As to her later incarnation as a television presenter, I saw Blind Date once. It wasn’t for me. I never watched Surprise, Surprise.

I went off her completely when she was introducing some awards ceremony or other and mentioned Margaret Thatcher, at which the audience booed. Cilla then protested (against all reason) “But she’s put the great back in Great Britain.” Maybe for successful entertainers, but not for those left behind.

This was Cilla in her 1960s pomp, in a clip from Top of the Pops:-

Cilla Black: Surround Yourself With Sorrow

And here she is in her softer register. (Interesting that in the intervening almost forty years since I first heard her perform this song, to reflect our modern sensibilities the lyric has been changed from “ye’ll gerra belt from yer da’,” to “Ye’ll get told off by your da’.”)

Cilla Black: Liverpool Lullaby

Priscilla Maria Veronica White (Cilla Black): 27/5/1943-1/8/2015. So it goes.

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