Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yet the years haven't really been wasted

What 60s Brit Pop group had a 1970 hit with the following opening line?

"Oh Woman get your head out of curlers.  Time to get your butt out of bed"

Well of course that would be the recently Graham Nash-less Hollies with there little ode to all things redneck, "Gasoline Alley Bred".   In fact it made it to number 14 in the UK charts, although it did not even dent the top 100 in the US.  It is absolutely one of my favorite 70s Hollies numbers.  In my estimation it is way better than "Long Cool Woman" because you actually get to hear the trademark three part Hollies harmonies in the chorus.   And furthermore it offered a great chance to hear Mr. Nash's replacement - Terry Sylvester - who trades the verse lines with Allan Clarke.  He has a fine strong voice and it fits in perfectly with the Hollies sound.  There is that snazzy little piano plinking that accentuates the end of each of the lines in the chorus.  And best of all, Tony Hicks serves up some really lovely guitar work, including the unforgettable opening picking routine.

This was released about the same time as their LP "Confessions of The Mind", known in the US as "Moving Finger" with a different running order.  Until this week I had not listened to the album in years.   Well ladies and gents, let me say that it is really a fine piece of work.  Studded with killer string and horn arrangements, a few rockers, and those Hollies harmonies, it is truly one of their finer moments in the long play variety.  Not quite up there in my estimation with "Romany" but certainly it all hangs together as a piece.

How much do I love this song?  When their voices swell in the lead up to the chorus each time around, I get goose bumps.  Furthermore there is a little coda with a high chorus of "gasoline... gasoline alley" that just hits me in the right spot.  To add to the charming pathos, the lyrics make it clear that the protagonist knows that he and the little woman are forever trapped by their roots.

"I know that we could have made it.  We had ideas in our heads.    And I wish somehow we could have saved it.  But we're Gasoline Alley bred."


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Hell yes.

Although Long Cool Woman is still pretty stunning if atypical for lack of harmony.

I love & wait for that "woo-hoo!" though ...

Sitting in a nest of bad men; whisky bottles piling high ...

Mister Pleasant said...

You bet Mr. Anyway. I did not mean to denigrate Long Cool Woman - it really is a great rocker. I just wish it had been billed as an Allan Clarke solo single - because it really was.