I agonised about posting about the Phrock Blog. It's a hotbed of illegal downloading but it does have some interesting reader comments about classic artists and albums.
I found it while looking for information about Them. It has a great review of The Story of Them. Unfortunately, there is also access to downloads of lots of official material. I don’t get it. Why do supposed 'fans' have to steal officially released material? Saving money? Cheap CDs are readily available in all sorts of places. Also, what's wrong with waiting until you have enough money to purchase an album? I suppose it's all just part of our Western culture where everyone wants and expects everything now. I can remember when I had so little and yet was willing to lay down full price to get those great albums. I took them home and cherished them because they represented basically all of my pocket money or allowance or even the cash I got from my various part-time jobs. From my perspective I think a person develops an inner strength and is ultimately happier when he or she isn't part of the never ending quest to have everything now. But that I guess reflects the thinking of a lot of baby boomers. We grew up without a lot and didn't expect much. We're wealthier now but I think doing without when you have to comes easier to the boomer generation. Enough preaching.
Following are some excerpts from the Story of Them review and with some reader comments following:Them were a formidable, popular group in their own right before singer Van Morrison went on to even greater fame. This Belfast five only produced two LPs and a potful of 7" singles during its ascendancy in the molten heat of the British Invasion. But they did manage two Top 40 hits in America in 1965 (the enduring number 24 "Here Comes the Night," later covered glam-style by David Bowie on Pin Ups, and number 33 "Mystic Eyes") and two Top Ten hits that same year in their native Britain ("Here Comes the Night" and a cover of Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go").
And is there a single bar band in America that doesn't play "Gloria," shouting "G-L-O-R-I-A" just like the 19-year-old Morrison in 1964? Moreover, the group's West Coast U.S. tour of arenas like the Fillmore in the spring of 1966 had the Ulster youths commanding bills that included such admiring support groups as the Doors, Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, the Grass Roots, and the Association.
At one of them, Frank Zappa even joined them on-stage. Clearly, Them's tough, heavily American blues captivated, a direct result of the vicious voice of Morrison. Although the band chose songs to cover by John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed (twice), T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Fats Domino, as seen here (as well as others by Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Bobby Troup), the real precedent for the white-hot, gnashing growl in Morrison's teenage voice was Howlin' Wolf.
True, his material could stand to rock & roll more. ..But still he comes on like some swamp-dwelling, moonshine-drinking, big man on the prowl. Them were raw and ready, and digitally brought back kicking and screaming from the original analogue master tapes, they are an eerie thing of bluesy beauty.
Some Reader Comments
frumious bandersnatch - That's a great idea to post this, Crimson ! 1st, it's out of print, 2nd it features nearly everything Them recorded with Van Morrison, 3rd the sound is excellent. And 4th, of course, the music is absolutely essential and amply demonstrates Van & Them had much more in stock than "Gloria".
I bought this years ago when it was still available and often go back to it.
kjelldahl - Best garage band...EVER::!
aldo - Make no mistake: ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS EVER!
Bob - Another great gem. Thanks so much. I'll take these boys over the Stones from the same era, any day of the week. An absolute stormer of a comp, missing only "Mighty Like A Rose" (because it's a demo, apparently, although it doesn't sound like one).
Charles - Thank you. I have never heard much Them other than the couple of hits on the radio way back then and a few Youtube offerings. I do have a large collection of Van so it will be interesting to compare and contrast.
hatari - I rate Them in one line with Stones, Animals, Yardbirds. Their later LPs (Time Out! Time In For Them, Now - And Them) are also great but in another musical style.
mdhjhw - When I see these forgotten albums, forgotten artists, it is easier on my heart, because it shows that there are people in the world for which, in it's culture and heritage are extremely important. Music is part of human culture, and that band created the foundations of rock music, now a component of our culture.
Them are a very important band for me, accompanied me since 1965 and when I listen to Mystic Eyes I still have chills. Thanks for the reminder, maybe for some it will be discovered, certainly as a sentimental journey for me.
Pedro from Argentina - Hatari is right, go for the rest of THEM without Morrison too, psychedelic!.
Anonymous - Just a minor point but is this the UK or the US version? The UK version features a different take of "I Gave My Love A Diamond". "Mighty Like A Rose" is available on a rare German compilation CD and the less rare Genuine Philosopher´s Stone boot.
JeanBernardFrance - Them were great with Van Morrison but also later without Van Morrison.
crimson - Hello friends, thanks for all your comments. Yes, Them was one significant band in UK rock 'n' blues history. There is no doubt that Them have the same merit as for example the Animals or perhaps Rolling Stones. Although I am a more progrock.
adamus67 - Them were raw and ready, and digitally brought back kicking and screaming from the original analogue master tapes, they are an eerie thing of bluesy beauty.
Art Siegel - Thanks for an erudite appreciation of Them. Check out Lester Bangs' essay on Them, too. I'm sure it's online somewhere. If I remember correctly, Morrison wouldn't give permission to use Mighty Like A Rose on this set, calling it only a demo.
nickprin - A real classic. Does anybody really needs comments for this one? Many, many thanks!!! - Ευχαριστώ πολύ!!!