Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Four Pennies - 2 Sides Of The Four Pennies (1964) - Mixed Bag (1966)



The Four Pennies started out as the Lionel Morton Four, taking their name from their singer, who had served as a choir boy in a cathedral in his hometown of Blackburn, Lancashire, England, during his youth. The band — not to be confused with the stateside recording artists of the same name — also included Stoke-on-Trent native Mike Wilsh on piano, Oldham's Fritz Fryer on lead guitar, and Alan Buck of Brierfield on drums. Morton, in addition to singing, played the rhythm guitar. Buck, before coming to the group, had belonged to groups led by Joe Brown and Johnny Kidd. The band found their greatest success with ballads like "Juliet," which knocked the Searchers from the top of the charts in the spring of 1964. The song was originally labeled as the B-side of the group's second single, but soon was given "A" status when it started attracting attention over its flip side, "Tell Me Girl." At this point, the band had already charted with their debut single, "Do You Want Me To," but failed to make any waves with their music until "Juliet" appeared on the scene. The band's third single, a three-hankie ballad called "I Found Out the Hard Way," wasn't as successful as "Juliet," but it did climb nicely into the Top 20 in Great Britain. The Four Pennies charted twice more with "Until It's Time for You to Go," a Buffy Sainte-Marie number, and "Black Girl" from the great bluesman Leadbelly. With their original lineup, the Four Pennies put out one more single, "No Sad Songs for Me." The group fell apart in the fall of 1966. Morton, whose wife was British actress Julia Foster, first tried to go solo before switching gears and moving into television. Buck continued to work in show business, holding a variety of jobs that included production work at Radio Luxembourg. Fryer subsequently established the group Fritz, Mike & Mo, then worked as a record producer for such groups as Clannad, Horslips, Motцrhead, and Stackridge, among others. Wilsh still operates a band under the Four Pennies name


Two Sides of the Four Pennies

This is an album that truly lives up to its title, in the most bizarre way possible. The Four Pennies' pleasant but lightweight sound makes for a reasonably upbeat album for the first nine songs, long on melodies and ballads — which is what the Four Pennies did best — and light on the amperage. They do a surprisingly good version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," with all of the elements — the elegant lead vocals and harmonies, the instruments turned up to about "two," and the dignified tone — coming together. And then a shock: at the end of Side Two of the original disc, "Pony Time" throws out most of the propriety and neatness of the rest of the record, and "Come to Me" and "Why Do You Cry" give them a sound that could pass for the Beatles, the Searchers, or Gerry & the Pacemakers, with solid electric guitars turned up and out in front of the group's sound. What's lacking on the first nine songs is excitement, however, as even the group's faster-paced tracks, such as "Do You Want Me To," resemble the Everly Brothers on a coffee jag more than typical British Invasion sounds. Not only wasn't the wattage there for anything heavier weight, but the quartet was simply too dignified to generate anything tougher — the resulting album, apart from the last three numbers, is like an entire LP with the texture of the Beatles' "Till There Was You."


Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
Release Date: April 3, 1997

1. Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home) - The Four Pennies, Barry
2. Sweeter Than You - The Four Pennies, Knight, Baker
3. Claudette - The Four Pennies, Orbison
4. If You Love Me (I Won't Care) - The Four Pennies, Monnot
5. Do You Want Me To - The Four Pennies, Fryer
6. Love's Journey - The Four Pennies, Wilsh
7. You Went Away - The Four Pennies, Fryer
8. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Four Pennies, Goffin
9. Now We Are Through - The Four Pennies, Fryer
10. Pony Time - The Four Pennies, Berry
11. Come to Me - The Four Pennies, Deighan
12. Why Do You Cry - The Four Pennies, Fryer
13. Cryin' Inside - The Four Pennies, Morton
14. Look Down - The Four Pennies, Morton
15. I'm on My Own - The Four Pennies, Morton
16. She Didn't Say Yes - The Four Pennies, Deighan
17. It Is No Secret - The Four Pennies, Hamblen, Stuart
18. Iko-Iko - The Four Pennies, Hawkins
19. Without Love - The Four Pennies, Small
20. Try to Find Another Man - The Four Pennies, Medley, Bill
21. Maracabamba - The Four Pennies, Springfield
22. Stewball - The Four Pennies, Traditional
23. All My Sorrows - The Four Pennies, Traditional
24. Someday Soon - The Four Pennies, Wilsh
25. Wild Goose - The Four Pennies, Hemsworth
26. Let It Be Me (Je T'Appartiens) - The Four Pennies, Becaud

Thanks Chel

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