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Sunday, 18 July 2010

~Nippy Sweeties~#4: 'On The Beach' by Finders Keepers

If history were only charted through Pop singles then future historians would doubtless believe that the Summers of the late 1960s were long and balmy(and indeed barmy!). Most singles released from 1966 onwards seem to portray Britain in some kind of sun dappled Psychedelicasized hue. What's also interesting is that this was a period in which the every day and mundane was suddenly viewed through some kind of acid-drenched spectacles. Take for instance The Beatles 'Penny Lane' or 'Strawberry Fields Forever', or The Kinks 'Autumn Almanac' or 'Waterloo Sunset', and virtually anything by Syd Barrett; songs which romanticise the blandness of British life by applying a thin veneer of Lysergic Paisley Patterned dressing. Brilliant songs all of course, but there were so many more....

Like, for instance, 'On The Beach' by Finders Keepers.

In my opinion, 'On The Beach' is one of the great lost songs of the 1960s, a song that really should have had a long chart-life and become part of British Pop culture just like the songs mentioned in the first paragraph. But what do you expect when you shove such a fantastic song onto the B-side of poorer track? 'On The Beach' was the B-side of a rather bland song called 'Friday Kind Of Monday', released on Fontana Records in December 1967.
Let's skip the A-side and concentrate on it's majestic B-side....

Beginning with an ominous Harpsichord riff we're suddenly drawn in, "The beach was crowded// We bathed and made sand-castles// Everything was first class// Ice-cream vans glittered on the sand". What follows is a basically a list of things that the group do or see on the beach that day including donkey rides(for sixpence!!), honeymooning couples holding hands, the pleasure of walking on sand freshly dampened by the incoming tide, and then comes one of my favourite verses of all time; "Renting a speedboat// Tremendous attraction// People watch me pull in to shore// Girls by the score// They didn't know I'd only hired it// And in a short time it had to go back// (melancholy tone)To the man in the Postman's hat"....hahaha, I love it!!

The playing on the record is superb with three different time signatures; the intro and the verse are in different time, and then the change between the verse and the chorus, the part which begins "Walking on sand// Dampened by incoming tide" is quite a jolt but suggest this lot could really play.
Members of the band would go on to play in Deep Purple and Glam act Trapeze, but maybe if only they'd put this fine song out as an A-side they'd be receiving a healthy royalties pension every Summer. In fact, this song probably gets played more now than it ever did when it was released. Proof that our parent's generation knew nothing about music.

Ah well...

Keep Your Mind Open!!


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