Monday, January 25, 2010

Song of the Week: The Pretty Things - My Time

The Pretty Things were an enigma. Any garage fan knows them and knows them well. Their reputation among that crowd as an inventive and wild, pounding UK band that produced songs that could peel paint off of a wall is well earned. Songs like Rosalyn, Don't Bring Me Down, Come See Me and Midnight to Six Man (see video below) secured that reputation in stone. But ask anyone else, "what'cha think of the Pretty Things?" and you are going to receive a look as desolate and unforgiving as the Sahara desert itself.
The band bubbled up in London in 1964 after Dick Taylor left his night job as the Rolling Stones bassist to form his own group where he would allow himself to play lead guitar. Taylor and raspy throated singer Phil May would front the beat band infamous for stage shows of debauchery and drunken punch-ups in any number of far away countries. It was an act that would win mostly male fans and influence numerous other bands in countries like Holland, Sweden, Germany and Australia. In America, they did nothing. Barely even got a label to release their stuff. By 1967, like so many other British bands (The Yardbirds and the Zombies come to mind), the band began to shows signs of buckling under the pressure of constant touring and recording and generally bad management. And on that last point, following the success of Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles, The Pretty Things management decided the blues based band needed to do a big production psychedelic album. Oh Joy. That album is the over produced, string-laden, gimmick filled Emotions. I'll be honest with you, it's not my favorite album. But it does have some gems. And one of those gems is today's SOTW. The song is the last song on the album and it is the wonderfully understated My Time, a band composition. The song finds the band exploring pop sensibilities and, unlike much of the rest of the album, the horn arrangement is tasteful and appropriately used as ambience. Taylor's restrained but driving guitar work is front and center and John Stax's bass work (particularly at the end of the song) adds a wonderful dynamic to the song. And of course, their is Phil May's quizzical vocals that question the path he is on.

It's not the wild raver the band was known for, but, in my opinion, that is one of the reasons it works so well. Enjoy The Pretty Things performing My Time.

And here is a video of them on German TV performing (live) Midnight To Six Man.

Have a great week.

No comments:

Post a Comment