“Listen – The Peddlers – Comin’ Home Baby – MP3″
I hope that all is well with you in midweek, and that you are quite ready to have your ears blown off.
A bold claim?
Bear with me.
The Funky16Corners blog first broached the subject of the Peddlers back in July as part of Funky16Corners Radio v.53. Though I’d known of the Peddlers for a while, I only took the leap and grabbed some of their vinyl last year (much more since).
Though my first inclination is to describe them as ‘soul jazz’, they are at once much more than that, creating (behind the voice and wailing Hammond of Roy Phillips) a truly unique mélange of beat, jazz, cabaret, rock and soul that must be heard to be believed. Listening to the breadth of their sound is like passing through a cloud composed of equal parts Tom Jones, Jimmy Smith, Georgie Fame, Mel Torme, Alan Hawkshaw and dozens of lesser jazz/lounge vibe-creators. They’re one of those bands that comes along every once in a blue moon and I just sit and wonder how they escaped my notice for so long.
The Peddlers first came together in the early 60s following participation by the group’s members in various and sundry beat units. Phillips and bassist Tab Martin worked in the Joe Meek stable, and drummer Trevor Morais had been Ringo Starr’s replacement in Rory Storm & the Hurricanes. They played together for a few years (releasing their first single in 1964), developing their sound in a residency at London’s Pickwick Club, where they would eventually record a live LP. They played all over the UK and Europe, as well as working it out in Las Vegas during the late 60s.
Between 1964 and 1973 – when Morais left the band – they recorded several outstanding albums for CBS/Epic including the beat diggers fave ‘Suite London’ and had a number of hits in the UK.
Their storming version of Bob Dorough and Ben Tucker’s ‘Comin’ Home Baby’ – from their 1968 ‘Three In a Cell’ LP – is positively relentless, with a typically wild vocal by Phillips and blazing rhythm work by Martin and Morais. Phillips’ vocals may be my favorite aspect of the Peddlers sound. He had rich, soulful baritone and had a tendency to move into wild flights of scatting, all the while working the Hammond masterfully. Check out the way he scats in unison with the organ at the 59 second mark. The tune has quite a following amongst the Mod contingent (as well it should).
The Peddlers version of the oft covered ‘I’m Coming Home’ has quickly become a favorite, as has the band. To get another taste of their wild side, check out ‘Southern Woman’ in F16 Radio v.53, and get a look at this live performance of ‘Walk On the Wild Side’ on UK TV (the only live clip I’ve ever seen of the band).
The Peddlers continued on for a brief time without Morais, with Phillips eventually relocating to New Zealand where he continues to record and perform. You can find much of their 60s output reissued on CD, or grab the vinyl if your willing to dig a little and throw some money around.
That said, check out the tune, then stitch your ears back on so you can fall by on Friday for some tasty funk.