Sir Henry and His Butlers (and a P/S I do not have…)
Listen/Download – Sir Henry and His Butlers – Pretty Style
It wasn’t that long ago, during one of the many short-form digging expeditions – that seem to be the lay of the land these days – that I came to an important conclusion.
That conclusion was – having a brain that gathered and held on to facts like static ridden sock in a dryer – is sometimes a good thing, especially when digging for records.
It was four years ago that I sat down to write about a track by the Gentrys by the name of ‘Don’t Send Me No Flowers’.
It was a song that I knew via (what turned out to be) the original version by the Breakers, but discovered that it had been covered a number of times, including by a Danish band called Sir Henry and His Butlers.
I was unable to track down the Sir Henry version, and to be frank, didn’t give it another thought, until that day recently, when what should I pull out of a stack of 45s, but the disc you see before you.
The name of the group rang a bell, and the names on the 45 sounded Scandinavian, so I tossed it on the keeper file and went about my business.
So, I get the record home, and play the A-side of this 45, entitled ‘Camp’.
To say that it was awful, as well as awfully weird, would be a pure statement of fact.
The song is a bizarre, good-timey bit of Euro-oddity, in which the lead ‘instrument’ was a comb covered in tissue paper.
It was – in a bizarre yet somehow predictable twist of fate, a sizable Euro/Scandinavian hit when it was released in 1967, eventually being used in a chocolate commercial.
Naturally, when I heard it, I though my ship was sunk.
What was I going to do with a record like this?
Flip it over, of course!
Good thing I did too, because the B-side ‘Pretty Style’ is a decidedly far out, trippy bit of psyche. It has sitar, chanted, Yardbirdsy vocals, and – after about two minutes – some wild, soaring guitar and a much heavier sound, with the vocals taking a detour into bad-trips-ville on the way.
Sir Henry and His Butlers followed a well-worn path, trod by so many bands before them. They got their start as an R&B-based beat group, moving on into psychedelia and slightly heavier things in a career that lasted nearly a decade (including a few name changes).
I’m not sure how this particular 45 got a US release, but I think it’s likely that the overseas success of ‘Camp’ probably caused the ears of some enterprising record biz cat stateside to perk up, and that, as they say, was that.
Either way, ‘Pretty Style’ is pretty trippy, and I hope you dig it.
I’ll see you all next week with a new edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show.