Monday, 28 December 2015

“Time Out For Time In”

After Van Morrison left Them in 1966, it splintered into three groups.  Jim Armstrong kept the name Them and formed a new band which relocated to Los Angeles.  The Belfast Gypsies and Truth were two other groups soldiering on with past members of Them. Even Van performed with a band he called Them Again in the early months of the breakup of Them. The Jim Armstrong led Them completely revamped their image and sound behind Jim Armstrong’s accomplished guitar work and Ken McDowell’s vocals.  The only constant from the Van Morrison era was guitarist Alan Henderson and he played on the first two post-Van albums called Now And Them and Time Out! Time In. They easily represent the best of Them's post Van work.   

Them's second post-Van Morrison album which was released in November, 1968 was Time Out! Time In.  It's a fine album, heavily influenced by the West Coast psychedelic scene.  It's considered to be an acid rock classic by some. Just One Conception and We've All Agreed to Help are the only tracks written by the band. 

The title track opens the album and it's bluesy psychedelic rock with the use of sitarSome of the stronger tracks on the album include Waltz Of The Flies, Black Widow Spider, Market Place and Just On Conception, which features some excellent lead sitar. The Moth is another example of some fine guitar-sitar Raga-rock, with a dreamy vibe.  I Put A Spell On You is also included here but re-worked as I Put A Hex On YouThe album closes with the 1966 soul hit by J.J. Jackson, But It's Alright.  There are some bizarre lyrics throughout the album which some critics have naturally called pretentious. (Is it just me or are other listeners going to have problems with three insect-themed songs on the one album?)

Moving forward to The Bonus Tracks, Square Room, is a very strong track with Psych leads and production. A real standout is the original single 45 version of Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of 16), which was a single that did reach some success across the pond. I also found the track, Corinna, which was a track originally penned by Taj Mahal and Jesse Davis, which was actually released as a single in 1969, and featured session players Ry Cooder and Jack Nizsche, a single that should have enjoyed more success than it actually did. All In All, the strong songs, fine musicianship, and psychedelic slant should have enjoyed much more sales than this fine album did. 

In summary this album is a pretty good psychedelic record though not the masterpiece dealers and rock critics make it out to be.  This is the kind of album you get after you’ve heard a few hundred or so classics and are thirsting for more UK psychedelia.  The musicianship is way above average, particularly Jim Armstrong’s guitar work.  Mean lean fuzz leads are painted all over this album.  During this era, Them also had a good live reputation throughout the LA area and released some fine singles including the excellent garage punker Dirty Old Man.  Many fans also appreciate the fine psychedelic collage on the cover of the album. 

1.  Time Out for Time In (Lane, Pulley)
2.  She Put a Hex on You (Lane, Pulley)
3.  Bent Over You (Henderson, Lane, Pulley) 
4.  Waltz of the Flies (Lane)
5.  Black Widow Spider (Lane, Pulley) 
6.  We've All Agreed to Help (Them)
7.  Market Place (Lane, Pulley) 
8.  Just on Conception (Henderson, McDowell, Harvey, Armstrong)
9.  Young Woman (Lane, Pulley)
10. Moth (Lane, Pulley) 
11. But It's Alright (Jackson, Tubbs) 

Bonus Tracks on the CD Release

12. Square Room (2nd Single Version) (Henderson, McDowell, Harvey, Armstrong) - 3:18
13. Dirty Old Man (2nd Single Version) (Lane) - 1:46
14. Corinna (Single Version) (Mahal, Davis) - 2:38
15. Dark Are the Shadows (Single Version) (Monda, Budnick) - 2:39
16. Dirty Old Man (Original Single Version) (Lane) - 1:57
17. Square Room (Original Single Version) (Henderson, McDowell, Harvey, Armstrong) - 3:37
18. But It's Alright (Original Single Version) (Jackson, Tubbs) - 2:43
19. Square Room (Single Edit Remix) (Henderson, McDowell, Harvey, Armstrong) - 3:20

Kenny McDowell - Lead Vocals
Alan Henderson - Bass
Jim Armstrong - Guitar, Sitar
Dave Harvey - Drums
Johnny Guerin - Drums (Studio Sessions)

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