Monday, January 17, 2011

David McWilliams - "... Pearly Spencer" b/w "Harlem Lady" - UK 1967

Most psych fans at this point are familiar with the A-side of this single, "Days of Pearly Spencer", at the very least because it was featured on the second/international Nuggets box set.  Europeans in general and our British friends especially might well know the song from various versions which charted, including the original by McWilliams himself in 1967.

McWilliams was from Belfast and wrote this compelling tune about a homeless man he met in the mid-'60s, where it became a British hit via the famous pirate station Radio Caroline.  This relative success doesn't seem to have manifested itself in the sort of financial success one might hope.  Americans are likely not familiar with the song unless you, like me, own that second Nuggets box.

He died at the rather young age of 56 in County Antrim.  A brief bio is available on Wikipedia and a quite nice tribute site is located here.

This is a French pressing of the single which I found in - are you ready for this? - a used bookstore in Essaouira, Morocco.  It was one of the cheapest records they had, likely because the management had no idea who the artist was.  By my estimate this was probably the rarest and most valuable disc in the store, and it was mine for around US $3.

"Harlem Lady" is a less dramatic pop piece than McWilliams' most famous song, but like many B-sides of the era it's well worth the effort of flipping the record.  Both songs are on his retrospective CD, which you should buy if you like these tunes, but outside of that I've never seen the B-side comped anywhere.

Grab it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment