Sunday, March 22, 2015

McGough & McGear - McGough & McGear (1968)

Mike McGear is actually Paul McCartney's brother; he changed his name in the mid-'60s shortly after the Beatles become famous, not wishing to be perceived as riding Paul's coattails. He was a member of the Scaffold, who recorded some fairly successful comedy rock releases in the late '60s (their "Thank U Very Much" and "Lily Pink" singles were big British hits). In 1974, he recorded a solo album with plenty of help from Paul, who wrote or co-wrote almost all the songs and sang backup; fellow Wings Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, and Jimmy McCullough also play and sing. The album, which unsurprisingly recalled Wings, attracted some critical notice, but sold poorly.

Roger McGough is a popular contemporary British poet who spent time as a pop singer during the 1960s with a band known as the Scaffold. He and the group went to the top of the charts with the singles "Thank U Very Much" and "Lily the Pink." By 1967 his work was included in The Mersey Sound, a volume of modern poetry that was published by Penguin and also included works by Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, who along with McGough were collectively called the Liverpool Poets. The Mersey Sound sold more than 500,000 copies. McGough's poems appear on the recordings Grimms, Fresh Liver, and the Argo release British Modern Poets, which was issued in 1974. His published books include Summer With Monika, The Way Things Are, Sporting Relations, Defying Gravity, You at the Back, Blazing Fruit, The Spotted Unicorn, Watchwords, and After the Merrymaking. In 1997 he received an OBE award, and the following year he was the recipient of the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry.

The Liverpool native resides in Twickenham. He is a University of Hull graduate, and the University of Loughborough dubbed him a Fellow of Poetry in 1973. He began to write at the age of 18 but did not share his new creations with his parents, preferring to keep the poems private. His mother was pleased when he became published, but unfortunately McGough's father did not live to see his son's accomplishments.

McGough & McGear 

McGough & McGear was a spin-off of the Scaffold, the British comedy/pop trio famous for including Mike McGear, Paul McCartney's brother. the Scaffold also included poet Roger McGough and John Gorman. Minus Gorman, the duo of McGough & McGear released a self-titled album in 1968.

McGough & McGear Far from being just a Beatles-related curiosity, McGough & McGear is a fine (and rare) album deftly combining poetry, comedy, and a good amount of solid pop-psychedelic rock. McGear tended to be more prominent on the straighter rock songs, while McGough had a greater role on the pieces dominated by goofy, yet intellectually sharp, poetry. It's heartily recommended to fans of the more famous Bonzo Dog Band, who had a similarly appealing blend of comedy and rock, though McGough & McGear has a more poetic, spoken word bent. On tracks like "So Much in Love" and "Ex-Art Student," however, the act presented accomplished, sunny British pop-psych that could be enjoyed as relatively pure, tuneful rock songs.
The record also boasted a roster of all-star guests, including, unsurprisingly, Paul McCartney; McCartney's then-girlfriend, actress Jane Asher; Jimi Hendrix, who adds cool psychedelic guitar to "Ex-Art Student"; the other members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience; John Mayall; Zoot Money; Graham Nash; Spencer Davis; ex-Pretty Things drummer Viv Prince; ex-Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith; Dave Mason; Gary Leeds of the Walker Brothers; and yet more names that will be known to aficionados of swinging London, like Margaret Asher (Jane Asher's mother) and socialite Prince Stanislaus Klossowiski de Rola. The Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies, wrote the liner notes.

The album was largely recorded in the summer of 1967, but not completed and released until the following year. It's been reported that it was intended for issue on The Beatles' new Apple label, but in the end it appeared on Parlophone (The Beatles' standard record company). The album went little noticed, and was only briefly reissued on CD before it went out of print again.

McGough & McGear's sole album is a witty delight, notable for both its occasional cool tuneful pop-psychedelic rock songs and more frequent blends of music and whimsical Liverpudlian comedy/poetry. Of the song-oriented tracks, "So Much in Love" is groovy circa 1967-68 British harmony pop/rock with touches of heavy rock psychedelia, while the satirical "Ex-Art Student" (with Jimi Hendrix on guitar) combines sunny pop verses with an extended freaky psychedelic break. "Basement Flat," by contrast, is a funny take on a British pub-style sing-along, while McGough's poem "Summer with Monika" bears similarity to outings by the Bonzo Dog Band and Monty Python. The spoken bits are nicely embellished by eclectic folky and jazzy musical backups and background sound effects, and the sad piano ballad "Yellow Book" is indicative of their debts to British theatrical music traditions.


  1. received the message "file deleted"
    any chance for a reup ?

    1. Then this - that such ...?

      And please sign your comments ...


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