Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Keith's Record Collection™: Part III

Okay, this isn't one of the "forgotten jewels" Keith Richards raves about in his autobiography, but back in 1971 he did a Rolling Stone interview in which he went on at some length about Billy Fury's 1960 LP "The Sound of Fury."

Which he rated as pretty much the only really good pre-Beatles Brit rock album for a lot of reasons, including the fact that Fury wrote all the songs himself, recorded it without extraneous production touches (no strings or crying yeah-yeah girls) backed by his own crack stage band, and generally acted as his own producer.

At the time of the interview, of course, there was really no way for an American to see what all the fuss was about without buying a plane ticket to England and haunting UK used record bins; the album, like most of Fury's records, had never been released in the US, and it was long out of print in his homeland. In 2000, however, at the dawn of the Amazon era -- a time when it was still relatively difficult to find obscure music for free on the Net -- I found myself with a little disposable income and so I ordered an import CD of the finally reissued "Sound of Fury." I remember that I listened to it a couple of times, thought it was pretty good, especially for a Brit act of the day, but that nothing on it really killed me. I'm pretty sure I gave the CD away after that, actually.

Reading Keith's Life, however, especially the bits about his early listening habits, I got curious all over again, and so the other night I found a downloadable version of an even newer reissue of the album, this time in gorgeous stereo. Here's "My Advice," which strikes me as the most representative thing on the record.

The rest of the tracks are equally nice -- Fury may have been, shall we say, an Elvis impersonator, but he was a damn good one -- and Joe Brown's lead guitar work is really stellar throughout. Alas, none of it kills me, though, still. I guess you had to be there.