The Equals (Eddy Grant in blond wig…)
Listen – My Life Ain’t Easy – MP3
I said I might not be back this week, but as is usually the case, was – like Michael Corleone – sucked back in.
The track I bring you today is by far my favorite tune by one of my all-time fave unsung bands the Equals.
I’ve posted about the Equals before – over at Funky16Corners – and that piece has the biographical details (however brief), but there’s a story associated with this tune, so here it is.
Way, way back in the day, when New Wave was just beginning to morph into “alternative” (blechh) my brothers and I were digging heavily on the Plimsouls ‘Everywhere at Once’ LP. In addition to the group’s many great originals (especially the “hit” ‘A Million Miles Away’), there were two covers on that album, that would not be revealed to me as such for many years.
The first of these was ‘Lie Beg Borrow & Steal’ (which was originally recorded by Texas punks Mouse & the Traps, and which I will certainly feature in this space in the future). The origins of that particular song were exposed a few years after I heard the Plimsouls version when I saw the Gripweeds cover it. Like a rube, I walked up to the band and said something to the effect of “Great Plimsouls cover!”, and was immediately – as the kids say – “schooled”. Not long after that I dug up a copy of the OG, and it remains to this day one of my fave 60’s punkers.
The second tune was the Equals ‘My Life Ain’t Easy’. I labored under the delusion that this was a Plimsouls tune for well over 15 years, until one fateful day, when I was watching reruns of the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson show ‘UFO’, and I heard a different version of the song playing in the background of a scene. I knew that ‘UFO’ predated the Plimsouls significantly, so off I went to the interwebs. It was there that I discovered that the tune had originally been performed by the Equals (a band that I already owned several 45s by). Now I really felt like a chump.
Initially, I was only able to track down an import ‘best of’ comp that included the song, but a few years on I found the copy of the 45 you’re listening to today.
One of the things I really love about the Equals is that their sound was an ever changing blend of various styles, from rock and soul to rock steady and psychedelia. Though the group had a significant amount of success in Europe, and a few minor hits in the US, this musical shapeshifting probably had something to do with their inability to hit the charts in a more significant fashion.
‘My Life Ain’t Easy’ leans over into the rock side of things, like many of their best sides hanging in a post-Freakbeat/pre-Glam grey area inhabited by big (BIG) guitars and pop hooks. The guitar riff is for me the finest element of this record, sounding as if the reverb and volume had been layered on several times.
So, have a great Thanksgiving, and a great weekend.
Make sure to check the JamNow link over at Funky16Corners so you can listen in to the Asbury Park 45 Session on Friday night.
If I can find the time this weekend, I may be assembling the very first Iron Leg garage punk podcast.