Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Upset? You will be...

An old favourite this time, one that has been part of my collection for decades. I first became aware of the delights of Mel and Dave's version of Spinning Wheel thanks to the 1978 album Kenny Everett's The World's Worst Records Show (do you see the link here?) that I picked up in Gloucester well over 20 years ago, but it's only recently that I've discovered some more on the recording's origins.
Probably best known for the version recorded by Blood, Sweat and Tears, this particular monstrosity actually comes from reggae's enfant terrible Lee 'Scratch' Perry, appearing on his Upsetter label in the UK (a subsidiary of Trojan, releasing discs between 1969 and 1974). Perry produced the recording; the Dave half of the act is Dave Barker, a singer who has released a string of solo albums along with recording as half of the hit duo Dave and Ansell Collins of Double Barrel and Monkey Spanner fame. The Mel is Melanie Jonas, one of Perry's staff (credited as producer on a number of Upstetters group sessions) who later took the original backing track, added extra organ and released a far superior instrumental version under the name Double Wheel.
But how did three people with such pedigree produce such a turd? Too much spliff in the studio? The singing is inept, out of tune and insane (just the way I like it) and frankly one has to wonder why this nonsense keeps turning up on Trojan/Perry compilations. I know he's a genius and all that, but everyone has an off day - as this proves.

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