Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 151: SONG #181

Day 151: A forgotten favourite song from times ago

Who invented the effect of the "megaphone-voice"? Although many will think that Mark E, Smith was the one to get the credits, it seems to have been David McWilliams (1945-2002) from Northern Ireland. He wrote the magnificent song The Days of Pearly Spencer and first recorded it in 1967. The one who had the biggest success with a version of this song was Marc Almond, who charted with his cover in 1992 (top five). As McWilliams had lost the rights to his music by then due to some management failures, he did not receive a penny for that succes of his song. Although I do like some of Almond's records I do not think that his rendering of the song can match the original. Among the covers, the one I do like most is the recording of the song done by the French psychedelic group The Vietnam Veterans, featured here alongside McWilliams' original recording.

A tenement, a dirty street
Walked and worn by shoeless feet
Inside it's long and so complete
Watched by a shivering sun
Old eyes in a small child's face
Watching as the shadows race
Through walls and cracks and leave no trace
And daylight's brightness shuns

The days of Pearly Spencer
The race is almost run

Nose pressed hard on frosted glass
Gazing as the swollen mass
On concrete fields where grows no grass
Stumbles blindly on
Iron trees smother the air
But withering they stand and stare
Through eyes that neither know nor care
Where the grass is gone

The days of Pearly Spencer
The race is almost run

Pearly where's your milk white skin
What's that stubble on your chin
It's buried in the rot gut gin
You played and lost not won
You played a house that can't be beat
Now look your head's bowed in defeat
You walked too far along the street
Where only rats can run

The days of Pearly Spencer
The race is almost run
The days of Pearly spencer
The race is almost run

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