Listen – It Just Won’t Be That Way – MP3
This will be a quick one, as it’s late, I need to sleep and I already spent time last night and this morning digi-ma-tizing vinyl for two new Iron Leg podcasts (on a psyche tip) for the coming weeks.
I first heard of the Critters via ‘Mr Dieingly Sad’ which appeared on one of the old, vinyl Rhino’s Nuggets comps. I fell in love with the tune, which – written by group member Don Ciccone – featured a beautiful melody and some great harmony vocals.
It wasn’t long before I picked myself up a 45 of that song, but it was years before I finally flipped the record over and listened to the b-side, ‘It Just Won’t Be That Way’.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that the super sweet, mellow pop of ‘Mr Dieingly Sad’ had been paired with a rough edged bit of garage pop.
The opening bass line sounds like it was lifted from the beginning of ‘Eight Miles High’ and there’s a great, reverbed guitar line running through the song. Listen closely also for what sounds like an electric piano comping in the background.
The Critters hailed from Westwood and Scotch Plains right here in New Jersey, and in 1966 they had their first hit (for the Kapp label) with a cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Younger Girl’. They hit again with ‘Mr. Dieingly Sad’ the next year, and following the departure of vocalist/songwriter Don Ciccone, they recorded a final album – with some interesting lite psych touches – in 1967 for the Project 3 label.
Ciccone went on to perform with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, playing a key role (on guitar and vocals) in their 1970’s comeback.
Check out the Critters performing ‘Mr Dieingly Sad’ on Where the Action Is
PS I’m not sure if I’ll be back with anything else this week, but prepare for another podcast next week.