Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch - The Wreck Of The Antoinette (1968/ No. 14/ 9 weeks/ Fontana)

Always playful, always strange and surprising, the sadly neglected DD, D, B, M & T encapsulate the greatest virtues of sixties pop. And this combination of fearless boldness and kinky funniness invariably make them a great pleasure to listen to.

It starts with an astonishing introduction of musique concrete keyboards and scraping improv guitars under which Dee solemnly intones “Full fathom five, on the seabed she lies, the Antoinettttt-te!” – it sounds more like Peter Grimes than Herman's Hermits.

And then it leaps into supa-sprightly bubblegum. But it's all over the place, too. What on earth is going on here? An organ that either does blippitty-bloppity foam effects, or a subtle drone. Meanwhile the piano break invents 'Oliver's Army'. A lot of keyboards and drums, that keep on spurting and spasming into unexpected new gushes of melody.

It's a ostensibly a song about drowning on a shipwreck;

“Ride on baby don't you let me down! - Ocean’s big and you don’t wanna see me drown!”

"See the rain come lashing
There's a sudden flash of lightning on the foam
(Hold on Antoinette!)
The ocean pounds in fury
On a man who fights against it all alone
(Keep on Antoinette!)
She goes down with a sigh
And with her hear that cry

"Deep she lies!
Deep she lies!

But Dave Dee sounds remarkably cheery about the prospect of being smashed and engulfed.

Perhaps he's actually singing about something else.

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