David Hemmings in the studio with producer Jim Dickson
I will assume, that if you know the name David Hemmings at all, it is through his extensive resume as a film actor, from 60s classics like ‘Blow Up’ and ‘Barbarella’ on into the end of his career with ‘Gangs of New York’.
Back in 1967, Hemmings was, like many of his contemporaries, also interested in making music, and record companies (interested in exploiting film stars so they could make money) were more than willing to sign him (or any of dozens of young stars) up and put out a record.
Occasionally, stars like this ended up making really interesting music (Noel Harrison, for instance), but more often than not, the end product of such an arrangement suffered from lack of talent (on the movie star’s end) and lack of commitment (from the record companies).
The good news, is that David Hemmings was not only talented, but also managed to gather together a stellar group of associates when making his record.
1967’s ‘Happens’ features not only the instrumental and compositional help of a few Byrds (McGuinn, Clark* and Hillman) but also the arranging talent of Leon Russell*.
I applied the asterisks to Clark and Russell’s names, because all evidence points to today’s selection, ‘Back Street Mirror’ having been a leftover from the ‘Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers’ sessions.
If you are familiar with that record, ‘Back Street Mirror’ will seem immediately familiar, in it’s textural and production similarities to Clark’s ‘Echoes’.
The feel is very similar, and Hemmings acquits himself very well.
The rest of the album is quite good, with some of the songs moving into an almost Velvet Underground-ish territory, alongside some great, mid-60s folk rock.
The album doesn’t turn up that often, and when it does it can be kind of expensive.
There was a CD reissue by Rev-Ola in 2004, but that seems to be out of print.
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.
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