Sea Of Tranquility



The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu




Rafferty, Gerry: Who Knows What The Day Will Bring? The Complete Transatlantic Recordings 1969-71

We all know “Baker Street” and we all know “Stuck In The Middle With You”, while those with a little more in depth knowledge probably remember “Night Owl”. However it’s all too easy to forget that these three humongous hit singles arrived a good while after Paisley, Scotland born singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty had been trying to kickstart his career. Initially he hooked up with the then unknown folk musician and entertainer Billy Connolly in the latter’s band The Humblebums. From there things quickly evolved as the pair, augmented by others, released a couple of albums before Rafferty instigated what is seen with hindsight as an amicable split (words from both at the time contradict that revised story) when the guitarist realised that Connolly’s ever growing on stage anecdotes were beginning to take up more time than the music the pair had supposedly turned up to perform.

The band Stealers Wheel was on the horizon, Rafferty finding a new musical partner in the shape of Joe Egan but prior to that the ex-Humblebum, much to his annoyance, had to honour the deal he and Connolly had signed with the Transatlantic label and deliver them an album. Something he did with the musicians working under the Stealers Wheel name, although the album itself, Can I Have My Money Back?, would arrive as an unpromoted (by label or musician) solo album. Obligations fulfilled, Rafferty would turn his focus onto his new band, before hitting the big time when he went solo proper. Success would be fleeting, partly through changing times but mainly the songwriter’s disdain for the music business and fame - and his overly friendly relationship with alcohol, which would eventually play a part in his all too early demise. 

As its rather unwieldy title suggests this new compilation from Cherry Red/Grapefruit turns the spotlight back onto Rafferty’s early Transatlantic recordings, also highlighting that unlike the copious other collections taken from this era, WKWTDWB? includes all of the Rafferty penned songs from The Humblebums days on one disc. The second disc turns to the entire Can I Have My Money Back? album and adds the seldom heard b’side “So Bad Thinking” along with an overdubbed version of the much loved “Mary Skeffington”, which featured on the original album in its more expected configuration. The latter also saw the light of day on a 1978 reissue (among others), while the outtake from the album sessions, “Who Cares”, was also included earlier in 2019 on the Strangers In A Room release. Therefore, for many, it’s going to be the eight ‘unreleased outtakes/alternate versions’ from these same sessions that will pique the interest. 

Even from the early Humblebums tracks included on disc one, it was clear that Gerry Rafferty was a supreme songwriter, operating in the - unsurprisingly given their late 60s origins - Beatles mould, with a distinct touch of the McCartney’s evident in many of these tracks. The beautiful harmonies and jangle of piano on “Please Sing A Song For Us” proves thoroughly irresistible, while the tug of “Rick Rack” encapsulates the engaging melancholy that this era of pop music could evoke so convincingly. The short beat-shuffle of “Coconut Tree” proves that Rafferty was equally adept at more fun-fare even if his lyrical topics were seldom all that cheerful, with many of the trials and tribulations of life, relationships and, most pertinently, friends and family often mined for inspiration. The Church Version of “Half A Mile”, which is quickly followed by a Backing Track version, shows the scope and depth of what Rafferty was capable of even this early into his career, while the strings on “Continental Song” show just how ingrained these slick Beatlesesque tones were in his outlook. 

It’s the Can I Have My Money Back? album that opens disc two, the mature pop of “New Street Blues” continuing with his early sound while adding a more American flavour and a dash of the bombast that ELO would take to the stars in years to come. That the sweet, countrified tones of “Didn’t I?” pulls those minor excesses right back in again once more shines a light on the tight and incredibly engaging song writing that the young Rafferty seemed to find so simple - something also evidenced on the painfully fragile “Mary Skeffington”, which Rafferty wrote about his mother. However, it’s the album’s title track with its patient acoustic guitar and fiddle that proves the single most stick in the mind moment right across this double disc set. Although it does have to be said that finding fault with any of the Humblebums/solo material that’s been previously released is nigh on impossible. 

The first of the less celebrated moments, “So Bad Thinking”, is a perfect example of how, way back then, some wonderful material was hidden on the flip-side of a single, tight vocal harmonies playing against a shuffling beat and almost jazzy undercurrent. Admittedly, the ‘overdubbed’ version of the aforementioned “Mary Skeffington” loses some of its stark beauty in this setting but the first of the previously unavailable cuts - a demo version of “Who Cares” - for me, outdoes the previously released ‘final master’ version that also closes this set out. “Bernard” is an early, wonderfully stripped back version of “Mr Universe” which features on the main album on this disc, with a further bonus version now under its final name offering even more insight into the song’s evolution. And it has to be said that the other unreleased tracks prove equally rewarding. 

Special mention needs to be made for the extensive liner-essay from David Wells, where vintage photos and sleeve art augment a truly interesting and affectionate, but never gushing, run through of Rafferty’s musical life during the era this compilation covers. Along with the previously unreleased tracks and the manner in which this set gathers together the already available early work by Gerry Rafferty, it really is difficult not to be impressed by the care and attention that has been shown on Who Knows What The Day Will Bring? There’s no doubt it makes for a fabulous way to discover the early work of a vastly underrated musician and song writer as they encounter the, even then, burgeoning complexities and demons that would both propel Gerry Rafferty to super-stardom and see him leave us all too soon. 


Track Listing
DISC ONE
1. LOOK OVER THE HILL AND FAR AWAY
2. PATRICK
3. RICK RACK
4. HER FATHER DIDN’T LIKE ME ANYWAY
5. PLEASE SING A SONG FOR US
6. BLOOD AND GLORY
7. COCONUT TREE
8. I CAN’T STOP NOW
9. ALL THE BEST PEOPLE DO IT
10. STEAMBOAT ROW
11. SHOESHINE BOY
12. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF
13. SONG FOR SIMON
14. MY SINGING BIRD
15. HALF A MILE (Church version)
16. HALF A MILE (backing track)
17. CONTINENTAL SONG
18. CONTINENTAL SONG (backing track)


DISC TWO
1. NEW STREET BLUES
2. DIDN’T I?
3. MR. UNIVERSE
4. MARY SKEFFINGTON
5. LONG WAY ROUND
6. CAN I HAVE MY MONEY BACK?
7. SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE
8. MAKE YOU, BREAK YOU
9. TO EACH AND EVERYONE
10. ONE DRINK DOWN
11. DON’T COUNT ME OUT
12. HALF A CHANCE
13. WHERE I BELONG
14. SO BAD THINKING
15. MARY SKEFFINGTON (overdubbed version)
16. WHO CARES* (demo version)
17. BERNARD*
18. IN LOVING MEMORY*
19. MAKE YOU, BREAK YOU* (alternative version)
20. DON’T COUNT ME OUT* (alternative version)
21. MR. UNIVERSE* (alternative version)
22. MARTHA*
23. WAY OF KNOWING*
24. WHO CARES (finished master)
*previously unreleased

Added: September 11th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Who Knows What The Day Will Bring? @CherryRed
Hits: 1175
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]

  

[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]



2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by SpeedSoft.com