15 June, 2012

ELLI - MISTER MAN


ELLI - 'Mister Man' (Dig The Fuzz DIG038LP) unreleased recording 1966

Sometimes, for reasons now lost in time, certain songs remained in the 60s vaults until they were excavated and released decades later by re-issue labels. Dig The Fuzz did just that with a fine collection of songs recorded by Elli Meyer.

Elli was born in Calcutta, India but moved to London. According to the liners, Elli's profession was as a painter & decorator but in his spare time was lead singer in various London groups starting in 1962 with The Eagles, then The Nutrons, then The Madhatters and finally in 1966 with The Infernos.. 

Elli then teamed up with songwriting team Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker and it was their songs that Elli recorded during 1966-1970. Demos were cut at Pathway Studios, London with Finesilver on bass, Ker on lead guitar/flute, Vincent Crane on keyboards and Drachen Theaker on drums.

E.M.I. liked what they heard and signed Elli to Parlophone and during February 1967 'Never Mind'/'I'll Be Looking Out For You' was released. 'Never Mind' is a classic pop psycher but failed to chart and may have been overlooked in favour of a new Beatles 45 released on Parlophone the same day, namely 'Penny Lane'/'Strawberry Fields'.

 
Which brings me to 'Mister Man'. If ever a song deserved to be released as a single it was this one. According to the liners of the Dig The Fuzz LP, 'Mister Man'/'My Lady Of Love' was slated by E.M.I. to be released on Parlophone in mid '67 but due to a shake-up at the Company involving Elli's A&R man schedules were changed including the next Elli release which was eventually shelved.

Fortunately, the master tapes survived so 'Mister Man' can be heard in perfect sound. Listen out for Elli's soft, almost lazy vocal style over a jazzy psych backbeat and Vincent Crane's impressive hammond organ flourishes.

footnotes:

My favourite aspect when writing about obscurities is being involved in research and trying to fill some blanks in the story...

Elli Meyer - Throughout his life Elli struggled with diabetes and eventually died because of the condition in 2001. His last recordings dated from 1970 so perhaps Elli went back to work as a painter & decorator after his brief and ignored period in the music industry.

Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker also wrote and produced songs during the 60s for other outfits including The Love Sculpture. They then released 'Happy Miranda'/'It' (Instant Records) in 1969 as The Excelsior Spring.

Both were also part responsible for 'Fire' recorded by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. By the late 60s Mike Finesilver was running Pathway Studios in London which would be the studio of choice for the punk and new wave groups such as The Damned, The Clash, The Police and Elvis Costello.

Drachen Theaker - 'Drachen' is (I'm told) German for Dragon so that takes care of the unusual forename. He was the drummer with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and guested on the skins for Love during their 'Four Sail' recordings. Drachen died of a brain tumour in 1992.

Vincent Crane - He was responsible for the demonic hammond organ as a member of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown then heavy progressive outfit Atomic Rooster. It seems that Vincent was a manic depressive and he died of an overdose of painkillers in 1989.




8 comments:

  1. While I already knew and loved 'Never Mind' I hadn't heard 'Mr Man' - very nice, many thanks for sharing here. Good to read all your thorough research and see the photo too, I knew nothing about him and it's also interesting to read of the connections/entwined threads (e.g. the link to Excelsior Spring - 'It' is a fave of mine). Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for the feedback C - I buy all kinds of reference guides and books etc. I've bought every Record Collector mag since about 1985 so all these things help when looking for info.

    Although it's very interesting doing research on obscure musicians it's always sad in a way to hear that they died years earlier.

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  3. Elli Rules!
    please someone release a cd of his songs
    [i just have that one scratchy download collec. available]

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    1. I would also love somneone to release a CD of Elli's songs

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  4. I too only knew Elli via the wonderful "Never Mind" and this is great as well. Roll on the CD! By the way I knew Drachen Theaker (lovely man), and he said that he was a full member of Love (after the late George Suranovich left the first time over money, and the reason why Drachen left as well!).

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  5. I knew and loved Elli personally Its just a shame that he is not around I wish that somebody will release a cd of his songs that is what he had always wanted.

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  6. I would love someone to release a CD of Elli's songs.

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  7. Elli has great songs. I have got a cd with all his songs and lyrics...!!!

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