VM_1967 . Them - Belfast Gypsies (1967)

Posted By : fintje | Date : 10 Mar 2007 15:14:00 | Comments : 1 |

fintje VM A A T

Them - Belfast Gypsies

Format: MP3 256 KBit/s
Total time: 56:10
Number of CDs: 1
No. of Tracks: 18
DL-Size: 109 MB
# Archiv-Files: 2
Genre: Rock/Pop
Year: 1967
Covers incl.

Grand Prix GP 9923 - (1967 Sweden only)
Sonet SNTF 738 - (1978 UK reissue)
(Scheduled for UK reissue on Rev-Ola in September, 2003)


01. Gloria's Dream (2:13)
02. The Crazy World Inside Me (3:02)
03. Midnight Train (3:31)
04. Aria of The Fallen Angels (3:50)
05. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (3:48)
06. People, Let's Freak Out (2:30)
07. Boom Boom (2:27)
08. The Last Will and Testament (4:51)
09. Portland Town (3:19)
10. Hey Gyp, Dig The Slowness (2:05)
11. Suicide Song (4:13)
12. Secret Police (2:32)

Bonus Tracks:

13. Portland Town (French EP Mix) (3:40)
14. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (French EP Mix) (3:48)
15. Midnight Train (French EP Mix) (3:30)
16. The Gorilla (French EP mix) (1:59)
17. Secret Police (45 Mix) (2:38)
18. Gloria's Dream (45 Mix) (2:14)

Note that there is no Van content on this album.

See also this Glossary entry for The Belfast Gypsies

Liner notes to the 1978 reissue: (thanks to the David Chance for the transcription)
The Story of the Belfast Gypsies
by Brian Hogg -- 'Bam Balam', 1978
This album, and its group, have a rather complex history.

It begins in Belfast, Ireland, sometime in late 1963. The Maritime Hotel had recently been open there as a hall for local R&B groups to practice in and to play. Of those groups, the Monarchs had probably been the most successful (they'd toured Britain and Europe), but they had split. Their singer, Van Morrison, along with two more of the group, joined with two other friends to form Them. Them (with Van on vocals and harmonica, Alan Henderson (bass), Billy Harrison (guitar), Eric Wickson (piano) and Ronnie Millings (drums)), became the Maritime's house-band, building a solid reputation there as a strong, adventurous R&B group. They signed to Decca in 1964, and had a hit in Ireland with their first single "Don't Start Crying Now". When the second single, "Baby, Please Don't Go" made the British charts, they were persuaded to move to London.

Them were plagued by personal problems. Even on their decision to come to London, some came and some did not. The group was reshaped around Morrison, Harrison and Henderson, with Jackie McAuley on organ and his brother Pat on drums. More musicians came and went and came again, especially during the recording of the group's two albums, Them and Them Again, where the use of session-men (including Jimmy Page), especially angered Morrison. The mass of styles on those records too, from folk-ballads through jazz to pop/rock and more, although showing the range of the group, did little to keep them as a single, musical unit.

The end came in 1966, after a tour of the U.S.A. Them had achieved a measure of 'underground' success there through the flip of "Baby, Please Don't Go"; "Gloria". "Gloria" had become a garage-band classic, a song which was a vital part of every 'up-and-coming' (or even 'going-nowhere') group's act, right there alongside "Louie, Louie". Them's "Gloria" was a hit in Texas and Florida, but the Shadows Of Knight had the national hit, having cleaned it up. This 'underground' acceptance was a million miles from the commercial success Them needed, and on coming home, Van Morrison left the group and returned to Belfast and Them split in two.

One piece was Alan Henderson's. He retained the name Them, took four new musicians and left for America where four subsequent (and poor) Them albums appeared. The second piece was much more interesting.

Jackie and Pat McAuley put a new group together with Mike Scott and Ken McLeod. They were without a name as they could not use Them, despite being two-fifths of the group. Then they met with Kim Fowley, who had come over to London. Kim had loved "Gloria" and was eager to help the group. He gave them their name, calling them 'the Belfast Gypsies'.

I guess the Gypsies' story is almost as complex as Them's. They recorded two singles in 1966, both of them on Island and both of them produced by Kim Fowley. The first was "Gloria's Dream" (c/w "Secret Police" WI 3007). Obviously, the Gypsies hadn't forgotten "Gloria". Not just in the title either; "Gloria's Dream" was the "Gloria" riff recycled, and was almost as good. The Gypsies' sound was similar to Them, but then they had every right to with two ex-Them members. They had a right to the sound they helped to create. Again, the organ was the most prominent instrument, played over simple, effective drums and bass, and although the vocals did use much of Morrison's style and phrasing, they fitted perfectly to the sound. And "Secret Police" was even better, with a fabulous, throbbing bass line and more of that marvellous, menacing organ sound.

The second single was "People Let's Freak Out" (c/w "The Shadow Chasers" WI 3017). But it wasn't released as by the Belfast Gypsies. This time they were the Freaks Of Nature (although in the U.S. it was issued as by the Belfast Gypsies). The Fowley influence is much stronger on the A side, even judging by the title alone. It's fast, using the Bo Diddley shuffle-beat, and it showed the group's R&B roots, especially as the harmonica was much the lead instrument. And the flip? It was "Secret Police" under a new name.

Unfortunately, neither single met with much success. Kim Fowley had moved off to Scandinavia and the group went too. They became the Belfast Gypsies again and it was in Scandinavia that they recorded much of what became this album, produced by Kim and Ray Henderson. The singles' tracks were kept and some more songs were recorded along with a few done, but not released, at the "Gloria's Dream" sessions.

Although the Fowley influence is here on this album, the Belfast Gypsies' sound is a logical extension of Them. It's hard to write about both without references to either; the Gypsies were Them's spiritual successor, Them in all but name. They didn't dabble in the extremes of the old group, but based their sound on the more direct, R&B/pop approach. Where Them were eclectic, the Gypsies simply concentrated on one or two more simple styles. It was 1967, but they were much more involved in Beat group music than the beginnings of 'progressive-rock'. Some of the titles were contemporary, but the music was what they were best at.

And it works. Their R&B roots are here on "Midnight Train" (with its great harmonica), on "Boom Boom" and on "Portland Town" (the U.S. flip of "Gloria's Dream" and probably the earliest thing they recorded). But they aren't simply recreations, the roots of each song are adapted away from the originals to a more commercial, mid-sixties sound.

There's contemporary material too and Dylan's "Baby Blue" is a real highlight. Again there has to be comparisons. Them had done a great, really original version of the song on 'Them Again', and it's possibly one of the best things they did. It seemed a difficult thing for the Gypsies to try after that. But their version is equally original. It's faster than Them's, and it's more controlled than most of the songs on the album. The vocals and backing match perfectly and the whole approach shows how good the group really were.

Of the rest, there's "The Last Will And Testament", stylistically similar to the Animals' "House Of The Rising Sun" and equally as powerful. There's Donovan's "Hey Gyp" (the original only hinted at its possible shuffle-beat; here the Gypsies use it to its fullest effect, something they really were good at), "Suicide Song", "The Crazy World Inside Me" and lastly "Aria Of The Fallen Angels", a less-than-serious instrumental.

Belfast Gypsies was issued in Scandinavia in August, 1967, but it was never given a British issue, until now. It's a good album, interesting both musically and in its part in one of the Beat Boom's most complex stories. It's only a shame that the group split up soon after the recordings were over. They were too good to be forgotten, but like so many groups whose beginnings were in that Beat Boom, they were discarded and swept aside as so-called "serious music" loomed forth. Pat McAuley, Mike Scott and Ken McLeod seemed to leave music altogether. Only Jackie McAuley stayed on, forming Trader Horne with Judy Dyble, Fairport Convention's first girl singer. They made one album on Pye's Dawn label, before they too split up.

Source of Informations: The Van Morrison Website

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Created: 10.03.2007 09:27

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Posted By: mebe51 Date: 10 Mar 2007 15:43:48
Thanks a lot