Friday, 17 July 2015

I Don't Understand

Warning: today’s pile of sentimental goo may leave you reaching for the nearest insulin pen. For here is Freddie Garrity, the former leader of the 60s hit makers Freddie and the Dreamers, and the sugary, syrupy mess that is I Understand (Just How You Feel).

Written by William ‘Pat’ Best (not the former Beatles drummer Pete Best, as I had hoped when I first picked up the disc), I Understand (confusingly credited throughout its 60-plus year history with or without its subtitle) was originally recorded by Best’s group The Four Tunes in 1954 and had been a sizeable hit in the US.

Garrity's band Freddie and the Dreamers had already released a version of I Understand – a reasonably faithful reinterpretation of the Four Tunes original, with more than a nod to current chart topper You’ll Never Walk Alone - as a single (it was also the title of their second LP) in 1964. However when Freddie revisited the song almost a decade later while trying to launch a solo career on Jonathan King’s UK record label, he (or possibly King, who produced the track) decided to emulate the G Clefs’ 1961 cover of the song instead, which tacked on Auld Lang Syne (and forget to credit Robert Burns as co-author in the process) creating this awful Millennium Prayer-esque abortion.

Freddie even copies the spoken word verse which first surfaced in the G Clefs' version, adding another layer of sickliness to this already over-egged pudding of a production. Happily, this affectation did not appear on the Four Tunes vastly superior original. Back in 1965 Herman’s Hermits also chose to cover the G Clefs’ version, pulling it off with a tad more style and finesse than Freddie manages here.

Freddie and the Dreamers had a number of hit records between 1963 and 1965 in both the UK and the US, the biggest being I’m Telling You Now and You Were Made For Me. Often lumped in with the Mersey Sound (Freddie was actually a former milkman from Manchester), their stage act was enlivened by the comic antics of the diminutive, bespectacled Garrity, who would bounce around the stage with arms and legs flaying – the band even tried to foist Garrity’s ‘dance’ on to the world with the annoying Do The Freddy (covered brilliantly by Mme St Onge). Favourites of kids TV shows, and stars of several mediocre UK pop films of the 60s, Garrity fronted various line-ups of The Dreamers until 2000. That year he was told that, due to suffering from pulmonary hypertension, it was not advisable for him to continue working, and he officially retired in February 2001. He died in Bangor, North Wales (while enjoying a holiday with his family), in May 2006.

Here are both sides of Freddie’s 1973 45, I Understand and its B-side, the inoffensive but dated Garrity-written pop song I Know, You Know, We Know.


Due to continued problems - and no sign of any resolution - with Divshare I'm trying a new, free, filesharing site, To download the tracks simply click on the Pleer logo, which will take you to the download page. Click on the download logo on the track you want and (hopefully) away you go. Please let me know if this doesn't work - seems fine in Chrome but I guess other browsers could have problems. 


  1. Good Morning!

    Pleer worked perfectly for me. I used a Mac desktop & Safari.


    1. Thanks for letting me know. Glad you had no trouble.

  2. Genuinely awful - Pleer d/l fine in Firefox.

  3. Pleer worked well on my Mac with Chrome.


WWR Most Popular Posts