Archive for Roger McGough

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: McGough & McGear (With special guests)

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by 30daysout

You know that feeling when you’ve looked over something about 100 times, then you look at it again and something in your brain tells you “look closer” … and you do.  You know that feeling?  Well, I’ve riffled through my sister’s record collection hundreds of times and I always saw this one record.  Today, my brain told me “look closer.”  Looking for duet albums to fit our little mini-series going until Valentine’s Day, this is may be more timely as an April Fool’s submission.

So here you go – it’s McGough and McGear, a British psychedelic relic from 1968.  To fully enjoy this album, you first need a bit of a history lesson:  back in the day, there was a group called The Scaffold – a trio that performed comedy, poetry and music between 1966 and 1971.  The group consisted of Roger McGough, a poet who specialized in performing his poetry; John Gorman, a songwriter and singer; and Mike McGear, also a bit of a songwriter and singer.  The Scaffold issued a number of albums  and singles in their heyday; a couple of their comic songs also climbed to the upper reaches of the United Kingdom Top 40.

So McGough and McGear is a self-titled effort from the late 1960s, minus John Gorman.  Neither McGough or McGear were much of a musician, but McGear knew somebody he could call to help with the album: his brother, who happened to be a musician.  In fact, McGear’s brother Paul McCartney was an excellent musician.  The Beatle apparently produced McGough and McGear, and in turn called on some of his own buddies to play and sing – including Graham Nash, John Mayall, Spencer Davis, Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, Pretty Things drummer Viv Prince, and this guitar player named Hendrix.

The album mixes poetry, comedy and some solid pop-psychedelic rock.  McGough usually took the lead on the parts with spoken word poetry, which featured some pretty decent wordplay, while McGear was featured on the rock songs.  This type of thing was pretty popular back in swingin’ Sixties England; if you like the Bonzo Dog Band you’ll like the McGough and McGear stuff.

The album kicks off with “So Much In Love,” with some Hendrix guitar work that could have come from “Foxy Lady.”  In fact, the other members of Hendrix’s Experience, drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding also played on the album, and they likely turn up on this track as well.  McGough turns up next with “Little Bit Of Heaven,” which is so British I can’t understand it … but it certainly presages the strange, zany humor that would characterize British acts like Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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