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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Belfast Gypsies (Them) - Belfast Gypsies (1967 uk, mighty garage psychedelic rock, 2003 rev ola release with bonus tracks)

The Belfast Gypsies' sole album was a very credible blast of British Invasion-styled R&B-rock. Released a year about after it was recorded and the produce by  Kim Fowley gives this rough-hewn R&B a manic, freaky edge on cuts like "People, Let's Freak Out," "Suicide Song," and "Secret Police." 

The Them-like atmosphere is heightened by singer Jackie McAuley, who's very much a Van Morrison-style vocalist ("Gloria's Dream" is a blatant cop of "Gloria"), though not in Morrison's league. Still, it's quite a solid effort, McAuley's organ pacing the band's brittle rock-R&B, with some decent originals and a diverse assortment of imaginative covers, ranging from Donovan to traditional folk to a tongue-in-cheek classical instrumental. 

Their tense version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" is one of the greatest obscure Dylan covers, and the magnificent harmonica on "Midnight Train" is a highlight. [In 2003, it was reissued on CD by Rev-Ola with six bonus tracks, five of them barely different EP and 45 mixes of songs from the original LP (though the French EP mix of "Midnight Train" seems to straighten out a varispeed flaw that had afflicted previous pressings). 

The other bonus track (and sole cut not to have appeared on the original LP), "The Gorilla," is a generic soul-rock instrumental with prominent organ that appeared on a French EP. Note, though, that while that recording did originally appear on a Belfast Gypsies release, it's not actually the Belfast Gypsies performing on the track, which was likely done by some or all members of Shotgun Express (particularly as two of them, including keyboardist Peter Bardens, shared in the songwriting credits).
by Richie Unterberger

1. Gloria's Dream (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley, R. Henderson, K. Fowley) - 2:13
2. The Crazy World Inside Me (McAuley, McLeod) -  3:02
3. Midnight Train (Traditional) -  3:31
4. Aria Of The Fallen Angels (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley) - 3:50
5. (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 3:48
6. People, Let's Freak Out (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley) - 2:30
7. Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker) - 2:27
8. The Last Will And Testament (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley) - 4:51
9. Portland Town (Daryl Adams) - 3:19
10.Hey Gyp, Dig The Slowness (Donovan) - 2:05
11.Suicide Song (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley) - 4:13
12.Secret Police (K. Fowley, Hardesty, Walther) - 2:32
13.Portland Town (French EP Mix) (Daryl Adams) - 3:40
14.(It's All Over Now) Baby Blue (French EP Mix) (Bob Dylan) - 3:48
15.Midnight Train (French EP Mix) (Traditional) - 3:30
16.The Gorilla (French EP Mix) (P. Bardens, R. Henderson, J. Mooreshead) - 1:59
17.Secret Police (45 Mix) (K. Fowley, Hardesty, Walther) - 2:38
18.Gloria's Dream (45 Mix) (K. McLeod, M. Scott, J.J. McAuley, P.J. McAuley, R. Henderson, K. Fowley) - 2:14

*Jackie Mcauley  - Vocals, Keyboards
*Pat Mcauley - Drums
*Ken Mccleod - Guitar
*Mark Scott - Bass

Related Acts
1970  Trader Horne - Morning Way....Plus
1971  Jackie McAuley...Plus

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