Friday, 11 July 2014

Paul Ryan - The Maple Annie Singles (1972)

When pop duo Paul & Barry Ryan split, amicably in 1968, the twin brothers decided that Barry would go solo and Paul would focus on the song writing. This proved to be a winning formula, seeing Barry's second solo single, the heavily orchestrated "Eloise" sell over a million copies, reaching number 2 in the UK charts and the top spot in the German charts in 1969. The hit single spawned the accompanying LP "Barry Ryan Sings Paul Ryan", which highlights Barry's angelic choir boy vocals. I'll not go on too much about this record as I feel it warrants a post of it's own, but fans of the Bee Gees' "Odessa" or Chad & Jeremy's "The Ark" should go out and buy themselves a copy, pronto!

Paul (or is it Barry?) Ryan
Barry Ryan had a good chart run, notching up a further 5 top forty hits in the UK, but by 1972 the hits dried up. It was around this time that Paul Ryan fancied a bit of his own solo success, putting out two singles of his own compositions for the small Maple Annie record label, an offshoot of Island Records which appears to have only lasted for seven single releases. Production duties were handled by Phil Wainman (Sweet, XTC) and arrangements were by Pip Williams (Moody Blues, Colin Blunstone). Neither of the singles gained any chart action in the UK but each one of the four songs is solid pop gold. And I should add that surprisingly, none of these songs appear to have been comped.

"Born On A Beautiful Day" is a flamboyant popsike romp with suitably camp lyrics, "When I was born a smile was on my face, they slapped me on the bum and I joined the human race" The b-side is the dreamy lullaby "Come With Me" a Bill Fay-esque composition which perfectly suits Paul Ryan's ethereal tones. "Natural Gas" sounds the most like 1972, taking it's cue this time from T-Rex with it's Glammy tribal beat and Bolan-like vocal phrasing, there's plenty of groovy electric sitar buzzing away on this too if you dig that kind of thing! Finally, "Hellow, Hellow" a song so melodic and laid back it makes the Beach Boys' "Friends" album sound uptight and in your face!

I can't recommend these two singles enough and because it's been a while since my last blog post I'm going to share not one, but two of them for you to enjoy. The other two songs will most definitely turn up on future Bite It Deep mixes. Watch this space!


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