The UK cover of Sitar A Go Go/Sitar Beat
The tune I bring you today is a very groovy cover version from one of the coolest sitar albums of the 60s.
Big Jim Sullivan (nee James George Tompkins) was one of the most in-demand UK session guitarists (alongside”Little” Jimmy Page) of the 1960s, playing on all manner of pop/rock/easy sessions as well as being part of Tom Jones’ band.
His cover of the 1967 Jeff Beck hit ‘Tallyman’ (written by none other than Graham Gouldman) hails from the UK LP ‘Sitar A Go Go’, which was released here in the US as ‘Sitar Beat’.
Though everyone was trying to cash in on the musical move Eastward, either by adding a sitar to their mix (like the Beatles and pretty much everyone else) or working the sitar into a pop context (like Rajput and the Sipoy Mutiny or Ananda Shankar, or as Sullivan did in another guise, Lord Sitar) Big Jim Sullivan managed to do so with a substantial amount of style and imagination.
As a result, ‘Sitar A Go Go’ manages to work as good music in spite of its exploit roots.
The tracks on the album move between rock, pop and more reverential Indian sounds, but ‘Tallyman’ is without a doubt the grooviest selection.
Working in fuzz guitar, sitar, table and a bright brass section, as well as a groovy flute solo, ‘Tallyman’ is a great example of the kind of stylish, colorful things that UK studio heads were cranking out in the 60s and early 70s. It almost crosses over into Library territory.
If you desire your own copy of the album but don’t want to spend the time or money looking for an original, ‘Sitar Beat’ was reissued on CD with bonus tracks.
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll see you all next week.
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