(a borrowed pic of) The Shanes
Listen – Chris Craft No. 9 – MP3
Here’s hoping all is well in your end of the world.
All is well hereabouts, with the end of the week approaching and some cool new (old) vinyl sitting in stacks on my desk awaiting digi-ma-tization.
Today’s selection is a story of a pleasant surprise. One of those tales where I’m out digging and happen upon a record that I never expected in a million (zillion?) years to find (at least here in the US). The record itself is not especially expensive (it wasn’t when I found it, and now seems to be changing hands in the $25USD range, but it is – as might be expected – excellent, and so that is why I am bringing it to you today.
Today’s selection, ‘Chris Craft No.9’ by the Shanes also provides another example of the fog of memory. When I pulled out the single to record it, I thought that I had first heard the tune on a mid-80’s comp of Swedish Beat sounds. When I sat down to research this post I discovered that this was not in fact the case (though the comp I was remembering did have another track by the Shanes) and that I probably heard it first on a mix tape provided by a friend. Either way, ‘Chris Craft No. 9’ came into my life somewhere around 1986, and quickly became a fave.
I can’t say that I’m anything like an authority on Swedish beat. Here, 20-some years down the pike I have yet to pick up anything by the Tages or the Hep Stars (the two BIG names of that era), but I like what I’ve heard.
The Shanes released their first records in 1963, and started out doing mostly Shadows-style instrumentals. By 1965 they had switched to a more Beat-ish sound and were one of the most popular bands in the country. Between 1965 and 1967 (when four of the bands members had to take leave to perform compulsory national military service) they rode the top of the Swedish charts.
‘Chris Craft No. 9’ was a hit when it was released in 1966, and has that great combination of Beat pop, and just a touch of garage roughness that places it – at least for me – in the Freakbeat category.
I remember when I came across the 45 being shocked, first that I found it at all, second that it had been released in the US. There are certainly precedents for oddball releases by foreign bands on US labels (like the Capitol 45 I have of the Dave Davani Four), and I can only imagine some cigar-chomping suit figuring, ‘They have long hair and guitars…the kids’ll LOVE it!’. Adding credence to this scenario is the fact that the record company thought enough of the Shanes to send them to the UK to record this 45.
The band eventually regrouped, but broke up by the end of the 60’s.
That said, I hope you dig the tune. If I can motivate myself I’ll be back on Monday with another UK psyche mix.