Monday, March 14, 2011

Compare and Contrast: Those Star-Crossed Lovers

So a couple of weeks ago, while I was obsessing over the Keith Richards book, I believe I mentioned that I was a fan of The Inmates, the rootsy early 80s Brit punk band that had small hits with covers of "Dirty Water" and "Talk Talk" and, more to the point, had done a fabulous version of the early Mick and Keith beauty So Much in Love.

However, that wasn't strictly true; what I should have said is that I was a fan of the band's first two albums, which were the only ones I'd heard. So I was pleasantly surprised the other day to come across their fifth long-player -- aptly titled Five -- from 1984, which has a) never been available on CD; b) features Barrie Masters, of Eddie and the Hot Rods "Do Anything You Wanna Do" fame filling in for usual lead singer Bill Hurley (who was apparently ailing at the time); and c) includes a pop-punkish cover of "Just Like Romeo and Juliet," the wonderful 1964 proto-soul hit by The Reflections.

And here it is.

And, of course, because I'm that kind of guy, here's The Reflections version.

The Reflections - Just Like Romeo And Juliet(1964).mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

For the record, as it were, this is one of those cases where I think on balance I prefer the original. The Inmates cover has a lot of pep, as they say, and I'll bet it worked like gangbusters on stage, but the Reflections take just has more of that 60s R&B tenement romantic yearning. Incidentally, the Reflections themselves were a bunch of white working class guys from Detroit with roots in doo-wop; the wonderful backing on the record was the work of a bunch of moon-lighting studio cats from the Motown house band at the time.