We begin this installment by featuring a British cover of the hippest record that The Four Seasons ever cut, the piano driven mod classic that is 'Beggin'".
Timebox were an art school-formed group that were deeply influenced by US soul and soul-jazz sounds, and those influences are heard to their greatest capacity on this track. The group never saw much success (this record made the lowest regions of the UK top 40 and was their only hit). The key members regrouped in 1969 in the progressive rock bag as Patto (named after lead vocalist Michael Patrick 'Patto' McCarthy), and guitarist Ollie Halsall went on to play guitar on (the excellent) soundtrack from The Rutles TV special All You Need Is Cash.
Both the Timebox and Four Seasons versions of Beggin' are driven rhythmically in a way that's so strong that it almost makes the song itself inconsequential. However, in the case of the song itself, it too is strong, making for the type of record that's gonna make people stand up and take notice; and they have for 46 years now.
Of course The Hollies scored several hits during The British Invasion and beyond, but this track, tucked away as the b-side to their massive hit 'Bus Stop', is one of their greatest (and toughest) beat numbers. The Hollies were top notch musicians, and friends-since-childhood Allan Clarke and Graham Nash had one of the greatest harmony vocal blends to the east of The Everly Brothers, who, also recorded a fantastic version of this track on their incredible 1966 LP Two Yanks In England. The backing band on the Everly's LP was none other than....drumroll please...THE HOLLIES! The brilliant songwriter "L. Ransford" who's listed on the label? It's none other than Hollies Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and Tony Hicks wiriting under a pseudonym. Perhaps in their modesty they didn't want to rub in the fact that they could out-sing, out-play, and even out-write just about anyone else on the scene.
Backwards track? Check. Fuzz guitar? Check. Swirling orchestration? Check. Must be England, 1967! The Marmalade take obvious cues from The Beatles first release of 1967 (Penny Lane b/w Strawberry Fields Forever) here, and the end results are a charming, lovely slice of English pop-psych.
This long-running Scottish group (their original name was the Gaylords) formed in Glasgow in 1961, changed their name to The Marmalade in 1966 and saw a string of massive hits in the UK from 1968 til 1972. The group is still active today with only one original member(!)