Long overdue recognition for a hugely talented but little known songwriter!
We tend to forget just how popular The Dave Clark Five were at their peak. Considered serious contenders to The Beatles, the group was also at the forefront of the British Invasion, the seismic revolution that still resonates today. The UK's musical reputation owes much to the band's pioneering work. Not bad for a bunch of blokes from Tottenham. The band's leader was a canny businessman, retaining the rights to the back catalogue, along with the copyrights of the hits, even if hadn't contributed to the writing.
Many of these hits were penned by Ron Ryan, a friend of Clark's and the brother of Mick Ryan, the group's guitarist. Understandably, with Ron not getting the recognition or money that these hit records should have earned him, the relationship turned sour.
A new album shining a light on Ron's work has recently been released by Think Like A Key Records. It contains a selection of unheard songs written by Ron over the last six decades, recorded with The Hootenanny, a band put together by drummer Jor Montague who became aware of Ron's work after featuring him on his podcast (That '60s Recording Podcast).
Recorded live to tape just like all those fab '60s sounds we all love, and featuring the superb lead vocals of Louie McDonald, it sounds like one of those great lost albums - packed with earworm choruses, nifty middle eights, and big on era authentic charm. Ron also joins in on one track, contributing a Presley-esque vocal to 'The Light'.
In addition to the Hootenanny tracks are several acetate demos that Ron recorded in as Denmark Street studio 1964 with his band The Walkers. Look out for tracks such as the piano-pounding 'I Have Love' and moody, brooding version of 'I Believe to My Soul'.
If, like me you have a fascination with the musical atom bomb that was contained within the 1960s rhythm & beat scene you might want to add this release to your Christmas list. Available on a 13-track vinyl LP or bumper 19-track CD. Track it down folks, and give some long overdue recognition to one of the 60's unsung heroes.