Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Chad & Jeremy - Yesterday's Gone (Mono Mix, 1964)
Forget music. Forget lyrics. Forget the British Invasion and/or the early '60s folk music trend. Forget all of that.
There's an element that's part of most great albums that's rarely spoken about. It's called atmosphere. The British folk duo Chad & Jeremy bring tons of it to their debut American album. On it, they conjure a vibe that's wistful, autumnal, and evocative of the long-lost past.
Yes, the songs are good and, yeah, they harmonize real well. But it's the overall mood of Chad & Jeremy's first American album that caught my attention when I bought it for the whopping price of $1 as a college junior. At the time, I was mostly into new wave and psychedelic music and would not have bought this LP had it been priced any higher. But it's a testament to how good it is that I've kept it all these years.
It's telling that the duo covered two songs also recorded by Frank Sinatra when he was with Capitol Records ("September in the Rain" and "Willow Weep for Me"). As with Frank at Capitol, Chad & Jeremy definitely know how to set a mood.
This is the mono mix of the LP, which has never been reissued. The songs themselves have come out on CD but in stereo and in that format, they have the feel of scads of other '60s tunes -- sweet, lightweight, and somewhat thin-sounding. The sound of the mono vinyl -- which I've tried to capture here as accurately as possible -- is thick as London fog.
Interestingly, this record was produced by Shel Talmy, who is mainly known for pioneering a sound far, far removed from this; namely, the hard rock of the early Kinks and Who. This must be one of his least-known productions, because it doesn't even show up in his Wikipedia entry. But it's definitely one of his better jobs, with some clever elements like the double-drumming (listen closely) in the instrumental "Only for the Young (Instrumental)"* and the lonesome-sounding harmonica on "Dirty Old Town."
Finally, the album has a version of their biggest hit, "A Summer Song," which topped out at #7 in the fall of 1964. I've heard two version of this song -- one where vocals at the end of the first verse overlap the start of the second, and one where they don't. This is the one where they don't.
Perhaps some Chad & Jeremy expert can enlighten me as to whether this version is the single version and if the other one made it onto the stereo mix of this album. I'd track that mix down, but it probably wouldn't have the same atmosphere. And, as we all know, that's what matters to me the most.
* This is the full title of the song, not my own explanation for it. They actually put the word "Instrumental" in parenthesis as part of the title. Why? So kid listeners wouldn't think they simply forgot to mix in a vocal?
1. A Summer Song
2. Now And Forever
3. Dirty Old Town
4. Like I Love You Today
5. September in the Rain
6. Yesterday's Gone
7. If She Was Mine
8. Willow Weep for Me
9. Only for the Young (Instrumental)
10. Too Soon My Love
11. The Truth Often Hurts The Heart
12. No Tears For Johnnie