Saturday, January 23, 2010
Out Of Time, Chris Farlowe (1966)
The first of the two soul-howlers will be a topic for another day (thank you very much, Wade, you fiend) - if I can find any information on him! Today, our subject is Chris Farlowe, who I discovered a few hours ago listening to my Alan Price Set channel on Pandora. One of his songs got my attention, but I'd never heard of him, so as is my wont I checked him out.
Turns out this guy, who at 69 years of age is still performing, was a huge success across the pond with his #1 hit Out Of Time, a song I only knew as a Rolling Stones recording. This is where the first degree of separation comes in - his association with the Stones. More on that in a minute.
Farlowe got his teenage start when the skiffle craze was in full swing in England, but when rock & roll supplanted that musical genre, he formed a band called the Thunderbirds, which performed both rock and R&B (guitarist Albert Lee was a member), and had a record contract which produced singles destined for the trash heap. When that contract was up, however, a power broker stepped in: Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham saw potential in another white singer who had a voice tailor-made for R&B, and signed Farlowe as a solo act. His first song to chart was the Jagger-Richards composition Think, which was also recorded by the Stones but not heard til a few months later as an album track on Aftermath.
Next up - Out Of Time, which was a sensation as produced by Mick Jagger for Farlowe. It was #1 in the UK two weeks after the Kinks Sunny Afternoon and two weeks before the Beatles Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby. Here, we never heard it, only a Stones version on the Flowers LP - the following year! Farlowe became such a soul persona that he was invited to appear on a special broadcast of Ready, Steady, Go! that spotlighted Otis Redding's visit to the UK; his cover of Mr. Pitiful got someone's attention. And wouldn't you know it - thanks to YouTube we can actually see what went on there - Farlowe singing It's A Man's Man's Man's World followed by a bit of Otis. Good God!
His career went in fits and starts through the later 60's and 70's. His last hit was Handbags and Gladrags, written for him by Manfred Mann's Mike d'Abo; he also ended up associated with Colosseum and Atomic Rooster. None of that panned out, but in the 80's he was featured in Outrider, Jimmy Page's debut album as a soloist (here he is singing Hummingbird on that). That led to a BBC radio live show that thrust him back into the limelight and onto the radar screen of a whole new generation.