Sunday, 18 November 2012

Barron Knights - One Man's Meat (1972)

The Barron Knights are known to most as a parody band. They had a number of hit singles between the 1960's and 1980's, their biggest hit being, "A Taste Of Aggro" from 1978, a song which parodies The Smurfs, Boney M and Brian & Michael's "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs". It is not well known though that they started out as a straight pop in the early sixties group before becoming successful as a comedy act. In the early seventies, after a few years of little success, the Barron Knights decided to go straight again, releasing their pièce de résistance, the self produced, "One Man's Meat" on Penny Farthing records in 1972.

Nine of the Ten songs on the album are original compositions, penned by band members Peter Langford and Leslie "Butch" Baker.  Recorded at MorganRecorded Sound and Beck Studios, the album wears it's influences on it's sleeve and you can hear echoes of The Beatles, David Bowie, The Sweet and Badfinger. I promise, I'm not making this up!

The album opener and lead single, "You're All I Need" starts off with tribal drums and fuzz guitar and can be heard on the Electric Asylum Volume Three compilation. "Before You Leave" sounds like David Bowie doing Abbey Road with its George Harrison-esque slide guitar and might have been a better choice of single. "Bottle On The Shelf" is a prime Badfinger singalong with the band doing their best Lennon impressions. The orchestrated ballad, "Lonely" sounds almost like the Bee Gees but without the billy goat vocals. "You Know What I Mean" contains hints of psychedelia with it's church organ and dreamy vocals, it also has my favourite lyric on the album, "She may be a trifle small but I don't care at all, just take a look at her teeth".  

(L-R)  Duke D'Mond,  Dave Ballinger,  Peter Langford,  Butch Baker,  Anthony Osmond
Side two begins with a better than the original version of Hurricane Smith's "Don't Let It Die", a tune that Smith wrote, hoping that would be recorded by John Lennon. "Turning My Back On You" is a dead ringer for the Sweet circa 1972. I wonder if Noel Gallagher has ever heard "Oh Little Girl"? as it sounds remarkably like Oasis' "All Around The World". I'm a total sucker for a Beatlesque tune, especially one with hand claps, like "To The Woods", the album highlight and worth the price of the album alone. The LP closes with the Pete Ham styled piano ballad "Peaceful Life" and rounds off the perfect ten out of ten album and fades out to the lyrics "I'm not gonna pack my bags, I ain't gonna pack my bags"

This album really is a genuine killer and if it was by any other band it would be considered a lost masterpiece by the rock press. Having searched the web for info on this album it appears that little has even been written about "One Man's Meat" in the blogosphere with the exception of The Downstairs Lounge, a site dedicated to novelty records. So grab yourself a copy of this album straight away. If you're lucky one might turn up at your towns charity shop, I cheated and got my copy from ebay!

Also worth mentioning is "Nothin' Doin'", the b-side to "You're All I Need" which is bouncy piano pop reminiscent of Macca at his most playful.

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