Thursday, June 11, 2015

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Marmalade

THE MARMALADE-Man In A Shop/Cry U.S. Epic 5-10284 1968

I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Marmalade issued several singles here in the States in their early years prior to their February 1970 hit "Reflections of My Life" (London 45-20058 which reached # 10 here and I remember it on radios everywhere as I was in pre-school) and prior to becoming a dreadful M.O.R. dinosaur.  This was their third American single.  Their smash "I See The Rain" was the previous issue (Epic 5-10236 September 1967) where it was oddly a B-side to "Otherwise It's Been A Perfect Day"!  "Man In A Shop" was launched in the States in January 1968 (it was previously released in the U.K. in November 1967 as CBS 3088). Like it's predecessor it failed to make them a known act in the States.

Next to "I See The Rain", "Man In A Shop" is my favorite Marmalade tune. From it's regal trumpets to it's buzzing backwards bits in the background it's weirdness has always appealed to me.  I'm not quite sure what it's completely about other than a man in a shop who has things in his windows that all the girls love but can't afford.  I've always imagined it's about this guy who attracts dollybirds with his fab gear and kills them and uses them in his display windows as mannequins before the boys in blue come to get him. Anyway the number is a perfect vehicle for the band's well honed harmonies and is a perfect pop/psych masterpiece with it's subtle string section, throbby bass and previously mentioned horns.

"Cry" (released in the U.K. as the ostentatiously titled "Cry (The Shoob Dororie Song)") is  pretty pedestrian stuff.  There are precise harmonies but the arrangement and song itself smell of chicken in a basket (that's "cabaret" or "lounge", and not in a good sense either) that pretty much sums up what The Marmalade were at this point. Not my scene at all and pretty much thus ended my interest in their material.

Both cuts can be found on the CD compilation "I See The Rain: The CBS Years".

Hear "Man In A Shop":

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