Greatly Appreciated

Them  were a Northern Irish band formed in Belfast in April 1964, most prominently known for the garage rock standard “Gloria” and launching singer Van Morrison’s musical career.  Them scored two UK hits in 1965 with “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (UK No.10) and “Here Comes the Night” (UK No.2; Ireland No.2).  The latter song and “Mystic Eyes” were Top 40 hits in the US.  Although Them had a short-lived existence, the Belfast group had considerable influence on other bands, such as The Doors.  (More from Wikipedia)
The Amboy Dukes’ raw treatment of Big Joe Williams’ “Baby, Please Don’t Go” from the band’s first album on Mainstream Records was included on the original Nuggets compilation album and already features Ted Nugent’s signature guitar licks.  Additionally, and incredibly, “Baby, Please Don’t Go” was originally the “A” side of the early single by Van Morrison’s band Them that includes the immortal “Gloria” on the flip.  In his book Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles, rock historian Paul Williams has said of this record (as quoted in Wikipedia):  “Into the heart of the beast . . . here is something so good, so pure, that if no other hint of it but this record existed, there would still be such a thing as rock and roll. . . .  Van Morrison’s voice a fierce beacon in the darkness, the lighthouse at the end of the world.  Resulting in one of the most perfect rock anthems known to humankind.” 
(April 2011)
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Besides Mouse and the Traps (officially Mouse and Positively 13 O’Clock), the only other band to be featured on the original Nuggets album and also on Pebbles, Volume 1 is the Shadows of Knight.  They are best known for their fantastic cover of “Gloria” that outsold the original “Gloria” by Van Morrison and Them in the United States


(September 2013)

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In 1967Kim Fowley produced the sole album by the Belfast Gypsies and also co-wrote some of their songs.  The band included some members of Van Morrison’s first band Them before he left to become a solo artist.  The album was misleadingly named Them Belfast Gypsies (particularly as the title is laid out on the cover).  Allmusic gives the album 4 stars, and Richie Unterberger notes in the write-up for the album:  “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.” 


(January 2015/1)


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As described above, the resulting debut album, Crawdaddy Express by the Crawdaddys was comprised mostly of covers of R&B classics by Bo DiddleyWillie DixonChuck Berry, and John Lee Hooker; plus a few from other sources, such as the old Hank Snow tune “I’m Movin’ On” and the magnificent Van Morrison song “Mystic Eyes” that opened the first album by Them.  Only a few familiar songs were included on the album, such as “You Can’t Judge a Book” and “Down the Road a Piece”.  Just two original recordings were included on the album, the title song “Crawdaddy Express” and “Got You in My Soul” (both written by Ron Silva and Steve Potterf). 


(January 2015/2)


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Stephen Cook with Allmusic gives the album 4½ stars and writes:  “Taking Brit blues invaders like Themthe Animals, and  the Yardbirds as a template, not to mention plenty of ’60s garage inspiration, San Diego’s Tell-Tale Hearts forged a fairly original beat homage between 1983-1986.  A bit too gritty and blues-based to really fit in with L.A.’s contemporary Byrds and pop-psychedelia revival (the Rain Paradethe Three O’ClockPlasticland), the Hearts only cut one album, an EP, and a smattering of singles and live tracks. . . .  Compiled by bassist Mike Stax and featuring the snider-than-Van Morrison vocals of Ray Brandes, the 21-track collection includes studio highlights like ‘(You’re a) Dirty Liar and ‘Me Needing You, as well as some super lo-fi demo covers and a live rendition of the Seeds’ ‘Satisfy You.” 
(September 2017)
Last edited: April 7, 2021