Saturday, August 13, 2011

Don Craine's New Downliners Sect - "I Can't Get Away From You / Roses" (PYE, 1967)

I recently put out of the shelf some early Ugly Things issues to check some things on (what else?) the Pretty Things. I was immediately hooked on an excellent three piece homage (maybe the best and the more detailed ever) on the R&B-protopunk savages, the Downliners Sect. I was totally forgot the reason why dusted off those vintage (now...) sheets. BTW, did you know that the Sect turned down both Rod 'the mod' Stewart and Steve Marriott in an audition for the place of the band's new harmonica player? Did you know that Van Morrison still rates them high? Knowing those trivia or not, many have tried all over the years to undermine Sect's importance and influence. Even Greg Shaw... Yes, the man whose alone responsible (in a big part) for all this garage revival movement, in the Bomp's British Invasion issue wrote them off and hounded them! Anyway, this time pick up on a rare, beautiful and kinda strange piece of plastic - at least for all of us who know well Downliners' history and fanaticism for R&B... The story goes like this...By the end of 1966, R&B wasn't the hottest thing around. Pop, Psychedelia and Soul took over the charts, and as a result of this the bands who still wanted to play the blues started to have day by day less gigs bookings. Soon the Sect had to confront this new order. Of the known members only Don Craine (guitar, vocals) and Keith Grant (bass, vocals) stayed in place and a new band created from scratch with the additions of Kevin Flanagan (drums),  Bob Taylor (lead guitar) and...Matthew Fisher (keyboards). Have i ever told you how I HATE Procol Harum? No? Well here's the moment! MUCH! As much as post-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd or any other prog shit. But here the man's just painting with his organ. The influences of soul and psychedelia are obvious on both sides of this single, even though the raw R&B holds up for good here too. The late reissue of the record inverted the original location of the songs ("Roses" metamorphose into A side tune), but the prototype one-off Pye release had the Remains (!) song as covered by the Sect first in line. And that's an oddity. I really wonder how this tune came to Sect's repertoire cause I'm quite sure at the time at least, the Remains was a no familiar name for the British crowd. And "Roses" quite simply one of the very best songs the Downliners Sect wrote and recorded throughout their long lasting career. I'm not going nuts usually for what the mod/garage crowds referred to as "Freakbeat", but this two-sider really stands out as one of the genre's best! If you wanna hear the Sect going heavier, darker and organ driven here's your chance.



  2. Thank you I dig the Sect a lot. Good post