Coventry Music Museum curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.
Tony Clarke – A Simple Game
THIS week in 1971, Motown legends The Four Tops were riding high in the UK singles charts with the song ‘A Simple Game’ written by Mike Pinder and originally recorded by the Moody Blues.
What may surprise you is that the Moody Blues’ and The Four Tops’ versions were both produced by Coventry born Tony Clarke.
Tamla Motown Record Company asked Tony to produce one of its acts – white rockers Rare Earth.
This connection helped the submission of some Moody Blues songs.
Mike Pinder suggested his composition ‘A Simple Game’ and within weeks, the Four Tops were recording their vocals over the backing track.
Tony once recalled that session to me. He said: “It was amazing, the guys were doing all their dance moves as they recorded it.
“I was having my own private Four Tops show – quite bizarre, the whole ‘Motown’ process was unique.
“The tape was sent to Motown’s quality control department which would listen to every beat, chord and instrument and you would get a report back telling you to tweak this up or turn that down or whatever.
“It was fun doing the Motown thing, I got invited to their 10th Birthday bash, rubbing shoulders with Stevie Wonder, a very young
Michael Jackson, great times and A Simple Game went to number three.”
Sadly, Tony is now in the great recording studio in the sky – a lovely guy that leaves a legacy of amazing music including The Moody Blues’ core seven albums.
CROKODILE Tears have been making some great music over the years – their track (no pun intended) ‘Trains’ remains an all-time favourite.
But the man behind the band Chris Sidwell along with Jerry Richards and Alf Hardy have of late been turning out some superb material.
Well, now all those newer songs recorded over that last year or so are all in one place, and that place is the CD ‘Hoi Polloi’.
It’s really full to the brim with top tunes like his latest single ‘Momus Boulevard’, the amazing ‘Melanie Moon’ and “A Song for Stephanie’.
If you have never had a close encounter with the Croks, then this CD is a perfect way of dipping your toe in the water, and don’t worry they won’t bite.
Danny Ansell – ‘Stories About You’
IT’S ALWAYS a joy to receive a new EP from the legend that is Danny Ansell.
The song is ‘Stories About You’ this is another superbly crafted set from one of Coventy’s hardest working musicians.
Here along with Patrick Beard – the spirits are lifted and the sounds are coming through as dynamically crisp as you can get.
People talk about Danny’s powerful vocals and his musicianship.
I’m personally a sucker for his finger on the pulse lyrics. They are sometimes acerbic as can be but they never sound that way as they are delivered so tunefully and gracefully. It is a nice trick if you can do it and Danny can do it.
‘Stories About You’ is of a gentle nature though and was recorded in Coventry by Danny and Patrick Beard.
It will be available soon on download.