Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Album of the Day #163: GLAD ALL OVER - The Dave Clark Five

Artist: The Dave Clark Five
Title: Glad All Over (Featuring "Bits And Peices")
Label: Epic
Year: 1964
Songs: Glad All Over/All Of The Time/Stay [Maurice Williams]/Chaquita/Do You Love Me [Berry Gordy, Jr.]/Bits And Peices/I Know You [Dave Clark & Lenny Davidson]/No Time To Lose/Doo Dah [Clark & Ryan]/Time [Dave Clark & Lenny Davidson]/She's All Mine [Dave Clark]
Written by: Dave Clark & Mike Smith, except where noted
Produced by: Dave Clark
Thoughts: At the start of the British Invasion, there was probably only one group that could attempt to compete with the Beatles (before the Stones, of course) and that was the Dave Clark Five. Clark was a business man, so probably one of his finest accomplishments was having full control of his songs. He was a pretty good writer too, churning out a brilliant number of singles. He was never able to make a good, consistent LP though and the only way to get any of his music on CD is a fantastic 2 disc out-of-print hits collection called The History Of The Dave Clark Five, even after he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
The group gained fame in the US in early 1964, shortly after "I Want To Hold Your Hand" hit #1, with "Glad All Over". Of course, another single followed in the form of "Bits and Pieces" and then "Do You Love Me". Then, an album had to be made, assembled from his UK LPs by Epic, resulting in Glad All Over (Featuring "Bits And Pieces"). I have the LP (in glorious "Electronically Re-Channeled" [a.k.a.: FAKE!] Stereo) thanks to discovering it in my aunt's collection.
It kicks off with the title track, probably one of the most energetic, pounding and insane singles from the early sixties. "Glad All Over" is just a pure triumph of pop, summed up in two minutes. Right from the start, the Clark's drumming assault, combined with Danny Payton's perfect sax playing and Mike Smith's frantic vocal, make it pretty obvious that the DC5 is a unique group. The album tracks get a pretty cool start with the fantastic "All Of The Time", save for Lenny Davidson's bizarre guitar solo. I love the harmonies during the bridge ("Please don't make me blue..."). Following that is the strangest version of "Stay" I have ever heard. It sounds like Smith is being backed up by cavemen! Still, he manages to give an amazing performance. "Chaquita" is a fun, sly (kind of sexy) Latin-tinged instrumental, but more or less feels like all the other instrumentals on early sixties rock records, meaning that it's a junky filler.
Their fantastic "Do You Love Me" cover closes the first side. It's a pretty good take on it and obviously was another smash single for them.
The second side kicks off with easily one of my favorite singles of all time (I'm serious), "Bits and Peices". There's so much energy, what with the stomping percussion, great sax and insanely vocal by Smith! Surprisingly the second side is made up completely of originals, but where a side of Beatle originals is a treat to the ear, here it's kind of pedestrian stuff. "I Know You" is pretty good, but then you get something like "No Time To Lose", which is obviously a note-for-note rip-off of "Twist And Shout". Following that is the pure drivel and glop of pure shit that is "Doo Dah". There's no better way to describe this - I mean, what was Clark thinking? "Let's see, the Beatles appeal to all generations because they can pull of stuff like "Till There Was You", but they can't appeal to infants! Let's do "Doo Dah"! That way we can one-up them!"
Next is the total yawn-fest of "Time" least "Chaquita" was interesting. The album ends with "She's All Mine", which is like a Buddy Holly song meets the banging drums and vocals of the DC5. It's a pretty good ending, but it doesn't leave you with the same impression that the finales on Beatle albums leave you with.
Glad All Over is solid evidence why the Bealtes were the spear-heads and the only ones to survive the British Invasion (aside from the Kinks and Stones, but that was because they didn't try too hard at being the Beatles). Groups like the Dave Clark Five and countless others could only make singles and as the Beatles were quickly making clear, the only way you could survive was by starting to make albums. Glad All Over has about four good songs (the three singles, plus "All Of The Time"), but Meet The Beatles! had eleven.

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