Lay Down Your Weary Tune ~ A Forgotten Dylan Classic!

September 6, 2011

In 1969 guitarist Tom McGuinness was at a bit of a loose end after the Manfred Mann band had disbanded after a run of fine hit singles throughout the 60’s. Luckily next door neighbour and drummer Hughie Flint who played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers playing on the Beano cover album with Eric Clapton was also at a loose end, so after a few drinks down the pub McGuinness Flint was born.

Next they found the excellent northeast singer Dennis Coulson who had a bit of the strong voice Eric Burdon’s about him and the band was beginning to really take shape, then enter two great songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle and everything was in place. 

A record deal with Capitol Records shortly followed and their first album was recorded with Stones producer Glyn Johns at Olympic studios in London. the self ~ titled album McGuinness Flint with the classic coffin cover was issued and the brilliant single chosen was ‘ When I’m Dead and Gone’ climbed all the way to No. 2 on the UK charts and was only kept off the top slot by the unlikely 45 hit ‘ Grandad ‘ by actor Clive Dunn.

Everything was rosy in the McGuinness Flint garden with the album soaring up the charts and the follow~up single ‘Malt & Barley Blues ‘ also making the UK chart, but after some disappointing live shows writers  Benny and Graham decided to leave the band to pursue their own careers as Gallagher & Lyle and were to have their own hits with ‘Heart On My Sleeve ‘ and ‘I Wanna Stay With You’. Both of  them also appeared on early Ronnie Lane / Slim Chance albums. Graham Lyle also had worldwide success for writing Tina Turner’s hit song ‘ What’s Love Got To Do With It ‘.                    

Left twiddling their thumbs, the other three members soldiered on and they brought in their old friend Dixie Dean on bass and saxophone to complete a new line up and because of the loss of the two main songwriters they came up with the idea of recording an album of covers of the more obscure Bob Dylan songs like from the Basement Tapes album which wasn’t released until three years later 1975 but had been widely bootlegged and featured the Band on backing.     

Manfred Mann had always been an admirer of Dylan songs having hits with ‘ If You Gotta Go ‘ ‘ Just Like A Woman ‘ and ‘ The Mighty Quinn ‘ so he was brought in to oversee the sessions as producer.

Lo & Behold was issued in 1972 as Coulson, Dean, McGuinness & Flint and recieved some excellent reviews but died a death with few copies selling but what an extraordinary gem of a record it is, with totally different arrangements and interpretations of these Dylan songs and has picked up a lot of fans over the years and have a great groove to it.

Released in the UK on DJM Records. Dick James was the publisher that set up the Beatles publishing company Northern Songs and in 1972 Coulson, Dean, McGuinness Flint would have been  UK label mates of Elton John.

The title song ‘ Lo & Behold ‘ sounds like the Rolling Stones in full flight and ‘ Get Your Rocks Off ‘ is given a blues rock treatment. The versions of ‘ Eternal Circle ‘ and ‘ Sign of the Cross ‘ are the best versions I have heard.

Full track listing is : Eternal Circle, Lo & Behold, Let Me Die In Your Footsteps, Open Your Door Homer, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, Don’t You Tell Henry,  Get Your Rocks Off, The Death of Emmett Till, Odd & Ends, Tiny Montgomery, I Wanna Be Your Lover and Sign of the Cross.   DJM Records UK 1972.

Lay Down Your Weary Tune c/w Tiny Mongomery was released on DJM as a 45 in the UK.                                                                         

The group disbanded in 1975 but not without leaving their mark and sadly vocalist Dennis Coulson passed away in 2006.

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Ho, Ho, Ho …..Who’d be a Turkey at Christmas

December 5, 2010

Yes folks! It’s that time of year again when we dig out the snow and the Christmas music classics.

MY TOP TWENTY CHRISTMAS FAVOURITES.

1) ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE by BRENDA LEE 1962 : For me this is the sound of  Christmas and was one of the first records I owned and I still have it somewhere ~ My all~time fave. Love the Boots Randolph sax solo.

2) MERRY CHRISTMAS ( War Is Over) by JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO 1972 : John & Yoko were so in love and it shows on this record. Great words ‘ So this is Christmas and what have you done ‘ I wonder what John would have to say about the state of the world today. Nothing’s changed really!

3) MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY by SLADE 1973 : Noddy & the Boys with their great Christmas party sing~a~long record. Great loud shout of  ‘It’s Christmas’ from Noddy at the end of this record. I can still see them performing it on Top of the Pops in my mind’s eye and let’s not forget Jimmy Saville.                                                                                                                                                                                

4) DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by CHRIS REA 2002 : My Dad’s favourite Christmas song and great lyrics ‘ Can’t wait to see their faces ~ top to toe in tail lights~ I’ve got red lights all around’. Drive safely your be home soon! Also love the words to Chris’s other great song  The JOY of CHRISTMAS.

5) I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS by GREG LAKE 1975 : A magical record from the King Crimson/ELP front man. It was his only UK hit but it gets played every year.  

6) FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK by The POGUES featuring KIRSTY McCOLL 1987 Kirsty and Shane living it up on this song which always bring a lump to my throat as Kirsty is no longer with us and Shane has had his fair share of troubles but both great talents on a classic performance.                                                                                                                                     

7) The CHRISTMAS SONG by JETHRO TULL 1968 : Tucked away on the B ~ side of  their UK single ‘LOVE STORY’ this is a beauty!. Also new version available on the Tull Christmas CD. Hey Santa ~ Pass us that bottle!

8) The WREN in the FURZE by The CHIEFTAINS 1991 : From the great CD The BELL of DUBLINthis one makes you want to dance a jig ~ a ~ jig and have a few wee drams.                        

9) CHRISTMAS IS GOING TO THE DOGS by The EELS 2000 : From the soundtrack to the Dr. Seuss movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas ‘. The songs rocks along with great words. Love it!

10) SILENT NIGHT by MAHALIA JACKSON 1959 : What a wonderful voice,  just relax, pour yourself a drink and listen! In fact, her whole Christmas CD is a must have!

11) WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE by ELLA FITZGERALD 1960: From the Swinging Christmas album ~ Ella at her melancholy best on this Frank Loesser song. Again the whole album is just great! and a must have!  What a voice!

12) JINGLE BELL ROCK by BOBBY HELMS 1958 : Let’s face it! it’s not Christmas without this little gem ~ be sure to play it nice and loud. All together now!

13) CHRISTMAS in PRISON by JOHN PRINE 1993: Love this song and love his voice always takes you there !  like an old friend or a 12 year old bottle of whiskey.                                                                                           

14) MARY’S BOY CHILD by HARRY BELAFONTE 1957 : It’s Christmas eve and time to tuck the kids in bed….Santa’s on his way….everything is peaceful….and the lights shine bright!….sing it Harry. Also hats off to the 1978 dance class classic by Boney M.                            

15) I YUST GO NUTS AT CHRISTMAS by YOGI YOUGESSON 1947 : Christmas with the relatives who can drive you mad and they often do. Just play this, listen and smile!

16) PARADE of WOODEN SOLDIERS by The CRYSTALS 1963 : You can pick any track from the Phil Spector Christmas album A Christmas Gift To You’  in glorious Mono, they are all great!, full of goodies from the Crystals, Ronettes, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Brilliant from start to finish. A must have for any collection.

17) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY by WIZZARD 1973 : Roy Wood the mad wizard  with the crazy hair from the Move and ELO fame with his well~known Christmas standard. All very tongue in cheek!

18) MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY by CHUCK BERRY 1964 : B side of the 45 ‘Run Rudolph Run’ and Chuck wrote it! It’s getting late, set them up  Joe and listen to Chuck sing the blues. very intimate and relaxed!

19) LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! by Dean Martin 1959 : Well the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful and since there’s no place to go……. Baby it’s cold outside. SAY NO MORE!

20) HO! HO! HO! WHO’D BE A TURKEY AT CHRISTMAS by Elton John 1973 : B side of  ‘Step Into Christmas’ and Elton and Bernie at their humourous best! It rocks!

Pass us that bottle Santa will yer ! ~ Merry Christmas


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