WHO MOVE INTO A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
THE WHO: ‘Pictures Of Lily’ (Track)
They get better and they get better. The Who as a group, and their records. The impact of this disc is greater probably than any of their previous hits and it should outdistance ‘Happy Jack’ in a matter of days. A rollocking, rhythmic, Pete Townshend composition with a beautiful lyric and his usual cynical cutting edge. Daltrey’s high, nagging, vocal is a gas; Entwistle’s distantly calling French horn and Keith Moon’s unique, more controlled drumming plus Townshend overpowering guitar style give the Who a distinctive, original, humorous, colourful and compelling sound. Marvellous muscular music. Surely the Who are moving into a class of their own — and this record should open even more gates.
THE BEE GEES: ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’ (Polydor)
A shattering single from this highly-publicised Australian foursome who sound as though they are set for success. The story tells of a miner making a friend, trapped in the dark of a mining disaster and everything the boys have put into the song reflects the situation — the record’s whole atmosphere is one of fear and possible death — and that’s some message for such a relatively “young” group. A lot of people will object because the boys sound like the Beatles, but surely if they are allowed to mature and progress their very own style will develop — it has already begun.
THE TREMELOES: ‘Silence Is Golden’ (CBS)
Rather a surprise this gentle, lilting follow-up to ‘Here Comes My Baby’, by the Tremeloes in fine vocal form. The number was written by that brilliant team of Crew/Gaudio who contribute so much as composers to the Four Seasons sound. One or two passages sound just like another sweet ballad ‘Please Stay’, but not enough to hinder this record’s impact. Sugary sweet, very professionally made by the group, a big hit but a bit of a bore.
BOOKER T. AND THE MGS: ‘Hip Hug-Her’ (Stax)
This group is ridiculous. They really must be an instant funk swing machine-computer — but they’re great. Easily the best single they have come up with for a long while is this new Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Dunn composition, faultlessly executed and thwacking out of the gramophone like a laughing punch-ball. The amount of soul and humour this group knocks you out with is incredible. Tremendous groover… but will the people like it?
NEIL DIAMOND: ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ (London)
Fast becoming a writer of fame and fortune with his Monkee composition, Neil returns to the wax with this soulful ballad with its high urgent pleading and it’s more gentle sweeping effect. It bursts beautifully and ecstatically into verse and then back into the chorus. Diamond’s emotive voice and expression give the record an excellent quality while the backing gently brews behind crashing into a powerful break with almost as much depth and majesty as ‘River Deep — Mountain High’. Great record and it should be an enormous hit.
P.P. ARNOLD: ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ (Immediate)
Ex-Ikette Pat on great soul form with this fine Cat Stevens composition produced by Mike Hurst and arranged by Art Greenslade. A very good record with that Greenslade trade mark on the stopping and starting arrangement, and the Hurst stamp on the production. A pretty, quality, climactic ballad but somehow we don’t think it’s got enough distinction or individuality as a number to stand out from the rest of the bunch. It does in quality certainly — but not commercially.
© uncredited writer, Melody Maker, 22 April 1967