The Poets “Scotland’s No. 1 Group”
The Poets were one of Scotland’s top rock groups during the mid 1960’s. The above disc is a collection of singles (all 6 of their official singles) and rough hewn studio outtakes. The singles play like an album because most of them were recorded between 1965 to 1966. Of the studio outtakes there is one aborted single in decent studio fidelity and a handful of rough, garage blues numbers that were recorded before their singles.
It’s a shame this great band never had the opportunity to record an album, they never did record a bad song and were loaded with talent. Now We’re Thru was their first single released back in 1964 during the original, first wave of the British Invasion. It was a minor key gem with awkward vocals that reached England’s top 30. None other than John Lennon sat up and took note, claiming the single was “weird” and original. The flip, There Are Some, was another strong sob rocker highlighted by piano and good drum work.
In early 1965 they released their second single, which was even better. That’s The Way It’s Got To Be began with throbbing fat bass lines and is a great powerful mod rocker that ends with some sizzling maracas. The b-side, was I’ll Cry With The Moon, an excellent, offbeat 12-string acoustic song with strange percussion. At this point, George Gallacher, founder and principal songwriter, was frustrated with the band’s lack of success. Their records were mostly originals (they just covered one song) and of a consistently high standard. I’ll Keep My Pride, Some Things I’ll Forget , I Am So Blue and I’ll Come Home are all first-rate British Invasion minor key compositions similar to that of another underrated mid 60’s band, the Zombies.
The Poet’s 5th single was their last hurrah with George Gallacher. The optimistic, promising I’ll Come Home was a departure from their moody, gloomy approach and it was backed by their legendary Baby Don’t Do It cover. This b-side was tremendous and in terms of originality it may even eclipse the Isley Brothers’ and Marvin Gaye’s versions. It’s got everything a great mid 60’s rock single should have: thumping drums, dramatic 12-string guitar runs and nervous, passionate vocals by Gallacher. This song is stronger than 99% of the cheap punk imitations it spawned during the 1977-81 era. The Poet’s soldiered on for one last single after Gallacher’s departure. In 1967, they released the double sided psychedelia masterpiece, Wooden Spoon/In Your Tower. The A-side was a storming mod rocker with an acid tinged fuzz guitar solo while the B-side had some strange renaissance-like flute, fat raga guitar riffs and smashing cymbals. All in all, it was a great way to end the career of this legendary Scottish cult band.
“Baby Don’t Do It”