Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005
 

Needles and Pins

Freeway Jam notes the passing of a musician long forgotten here in America, but probably remembered better in England. This career is a little dusty, but the Searchers deserve a little spotlight, if only because we haven't covered the British Invasion here yet (coming soon).

Chris Curtis, 63, drummer for The Searchers, from the original Merseybeat scene in England, died Monday from an undisclosed lengthy illness.

The Searchers: Meet The Searchers (1964)The Searchers formed in 1957 joining thousands of skiffle groups active in Liverpool at the time, and took their name from a then-current John Ford western. The Searchers played most of the same venues historians of the Quarrymen/Beatles would recognize. They had a number of hits on both sides of the Atlantic, including a version of "Love Potion Number 9", "Sugar and Spice" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away" from 1963-1965. Their biggest hit in America was "Needles and Pins", #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. In England, however, they were nearly as popular as the Beatles for a spell.

Curtis, who was born Christopher Crummey, hastily changed his name upon joining the group on the eve of their first successes in 1962. Curtis could also sing, and contributed to the Searchers trademark close harmonies. The band played a Mersey sound which over time gained a folkish element, and their hits, "Needles and Pins" in particular, are tuneful, if lightweight fare.

Curtis left the band in 1966, claiming exhaustion from touring. The Searchers continued touring and releasing albums right through the 80's until the singing/songwriting team of John McNally and Michael Pender split into two separate versions of the Searchers.
The Flowerpot Men: Let's Go To San Francisco (1997)
Curtis' further adventures in music were short-lived but colorful. He next appeared with English flower-power outfit The Flowerpot Men who scored a hit with "Let's Go To San Francisco" The Flowerpot Men were a studio concoction and Curtis joined them as a session player and is present on the hit.

He next formed a band called Roundabout, which featured most of what would become Deep Purple; they quickly went their own way without him.

After brief stabs at producing and songwriting over the next few years, he eventually settled into a job as a civil servant. This career trajectory was typical of many Merseybeat musicians, particulary drummers.

As for listening to them now, I haven't heard anything beyond their hits, which, again, are pretty lightweight. I'd recommend "Needles and Pins" to anyone who likes Beatles For Sale. They have a cover of "Some Other Guy" which the Beatles also covered on the BBC. "Don't Throw Your Love Away" is a big ballad, with a nice melody and good harmonies in a With the Beatles vein, but the playing is very slight. "Love Potion Number 9" is okay, but really is a whitebread version next to the Clovers'. Students of the British Invasion, madcore Beatle fans, fans of early 60's pop, and sentimental English should give their hits a go. The average rock fan probably doesn't need them.

The Flowerpot Men tune is a trebly Beach Boys rip, with very fruity flower power lyrics. Only devoted scholars of flower power or Nuggets addicts need bother.

Jam Tags:


The Searchers: Needles and Pins ****
The Searchers: Sugar and Spice **
The Searchers: Love Potion No. 9 ***
The Searchers; Don't Throw Your Love Away ***
The Searchers: Some Other Guy ***
The Flowerpot Men: Let's Go To San Francisco **