Saturday, October 20, 2012
FREDDIE and THE DREAMERS - A LITTLE YOU
Yeah, I'm posting a Freddie and The Dreamers 45, because it's GOOD.
Freddie and The Dreamers were one of the more annoying products of the British Invasion. Annoying, at least, in the visual sense. Their lead singer (former milkman Freddie Garrity, 1936-2006) looked like Buddy Holly after a starvation diet. They did this dance called "the Freddie" in which you would wave your arms and legs around, sort of resembling an intermittently-working windmill. If that wasn't annoying enough, Freddie would jump around like a crazy little speed freak and let out an insane cackle at inopportune moments. Even when he sang ballads, Freddie would use very exaggerated dramatic movements (complete with Al Jolson-"Mammy"-style knee-drops) that looked like your neighbor's weird kid serenading your teenage daughter outside your window.
However, that being said, Freddie pulled it off with such aplomb that you couldn't help but like the guy. Plus, it must be said, that the man could REALLY sing. He proves it on this single, released on these shores in June of 1965. While a lot of Freddie and The Dreamers' singles are lightweight and some are downright silly, this one sticks out like a sore thumb, mainly because of the heavier instrumentation (and a good, trebly guitar riff played by the recently deceased Brit sessionman Big Jim Sullivan) and the more adult tone the record takes, instead of the comedic bent of most of their other singles.
The song was written by Tom Jones' (and, later, Engelbert Humperdinck's) manager Gordon Mills, and it fits in with Jones' more "mature" market (indeed, Tom recorded his own version of this in 1966). However, the "mature" market was a little out of reach for Freddie and the boys, and so the record only climbed to #48 nationally, and was the last chart item for the group in America.
Too bad, because "A Little You" is a great pop song - nothing more, nothing less - but unfortunately, Freddie's name on the record makes a lot of folks dismiss it. I was very tempted to just post the sound file and have you guess who it was. I'm sure if The Hollies or The Ivy League or Ian and The Zodiacs did this song, all the music critics and hipsters (aka useless leeches) would praise this as a minor masterpiece, in league with the work The Beatles did on the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack. But it was Freddie, lovable, laughable Freddie who put this out, and the record paid the price for having his name on it. Freddie Garrity was an oddball talent, but a talent nonetheless, and his tenure in the spotlight deserves a closer look, because there was a lot more substance there than met the eye.
Freddie and The Dreamers - A Little You (Mercury 72462) - 1965