Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Collector's Guide To Rare British Birds

The Birds - The Collector's Guide To Rare British Birds
DERAM Records - 564 139-2

01 - You're On My Mind
02 - You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care)
03 - Leaving Here
04 - Next In Line
05 - No Good Without You Baby
06 - How Can It Be
07 - You're On My Mind (demo)
08 - You Don't Love Me (demo)
09 - Say Those Magic Words (previously unissued stereo mix)
10 - Daddy Daddy (previously unissued stereo mix)
11 - Run Run Run (previously unissued)
12 - Good Times (previously unissued)
13 - Say Those Magic Words (early backing track)
14 - Daddy Daddy (previously unissued)
15 - La Poupe Qui Fait Non (previously unissued)
16 - Run Run Run (previously unissued)
17 - Daddy Daddy (early backing track)
18 - Granny Rides Again (previously unissued)
19 - That's All I Need (from the film 'The Deadly Bees') (hidden track)

This group of West Londoners originally formed as the Thunderbirds in 1964, but had to change their name after Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds had chart success. Renamed the Birds they started developing a hard edged British R&B sound, driven by Ronnie Wood's guitar, that would later be called freakbeat. They gathered quite a following, winning talent contests and playing at their own venue 'The Nest' at Yiewsley & West Drayton community centre. In order to play gigs further afield they bought a van which they painted 'The Birds' on the sides and back and famously cut a hole in the floor so that they wouldn't have to make toilet stops between gigs.

They recorded three singles for Decca 'You're On My Mind/You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care)', 'Leaving Here/Next In Line' and 'No Good Without You Baby/How Can It Be' between 1964 and 1965. Their, and in my opinion the best, version of Eddie Holland's 'Leaving Here' got to No. 45 in the charts. Sadly this would be the only chart action they would see. During this time they issued several writs against the American band The Byrds when they came to the UK on their first tour, saying they had no right to the name. Although the Birds had been around longer the Byrds had bigger backers, so both bands kept their names.

In December 1965 they signed to Reaction Records and briefly changed their name to Birds Birds for their next, and last, single 'Say Those Magic Words/Daddy Daddy'. Despite the lack of singles they toured extensively throughout the UK and Scandinavia in 1966. They even had a cameo in a very low budget British horror flick, 'The Deadly Bees'. In the film they can be seen playing 'That's All I Need' in a TV studio. Despite their big screen d├ębut, the lack of singles and punishing tour schedule caused the band's morale to drop and in 1967 they called it a day. Ronnie Wood, by far the most famous member, went on to be in the Jeff Beck Group, the Creation, the Faces and the Rolling Stones. Bass player Kim Gardner would also go on to be in the Creation and then to Ashton, Gardner & Dyke.

This CD contains everything they recorded; all four singles, a host of unissued material and in one of those annoying 'hidden' tracks their cameo in 'The Deadly Bees'. It's a fine testament to one of the greatest British R&B bands of the 1960's. Here's the Birds' definitive version of 'Leaving Here', their last single 'Say Those Magic Words' and their cameo in 'The Deadly Bees'. Play loud.......

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