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Marmalade

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Marmalade

Courtesy Castle Music

All Things Old Are New Again:


I was talking not long ago with Harry Teuting, owner of Harry’s Guitar Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina about great old songs from the 60s. His band, Mister Mustard was performing at The Flip Side that evening, and that’s how we got on the subject – specifically, some good websites for finding old music, or, for that matter, new music that is similar to the old stuff.
When I marveled at how easy it is these days to discover so much music that I never knew existed, Harry said, “All things old are new again.”

And so it is with a group from the 60s and early 70s: Marmalade, from Scotland, and if you’re old enough, you just may remember their Top 10 hit, "Reflections of My Life." It was their only US Top 10 record, though the band enjoyed considerable – if not overwhelming – success in the UK back in the day.

The Name Game:

 
Formed in Scotland in the early 60s as The Gaylords, they soon became Dean Ford & the Gaylords. They thought it was better to have one member as the focus, after the success of acts like Cliff Richard & the Shadows.

By 1964, riding high in Scotland, they found breaking into the exploding English pop scene hard. Soon after arriving in London, they changed their name to Marmalade, and began gigging at London's Marquee Club with groups like the then fledgling Pink Floyd.

Band In Search of an Identity:

 
A recording contract in 1965 resulted in some singles, but no chart toppers. One song that did climb close to the top was "I See the Rain," which Jimi Hendrix dubbed "the best British single of 1967."

While Marmalade’s music spanned many styles, from harmony-dominated pop to psychedelia and even white soul, chart-topping hits seemed ever to elude them.

In the Shadow of The Beatles:

 
A notable exception was "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La- Da," a Lennon-McCartney composition which Marmalade actually released before the Beatles. Marmalade's version became a huge bestseller in England.

Another major hit was the lovely but wistful "Reflections of My Life," which went to number one in England in 1969 and broke the American Top 10 in January, 1970. Marmalade have been compared by some critics to the Beatles for their versatility and vocal ability.

Marmalade Epiphany:


They never became a household name in the UK or the US, but Marmalade recorded dozens of tunes which are still available.

My epiphany began with "I See the Rain," which I recently heard for the first time on Technicolor Web of Sound>. The driving bass and brawny guitar hook, overlaid with exquisite vocal harmonies, caught my ear immediately. Then I stumbled on another gem, "Kaleidoscope," a throbbing psychedelic dream, distinctive again for its harmonies.

I was hooked, just like that. Which is why, just a few nights ago, I was back on iTunes, testing the waters of Marmalade's considerable repertoire, carefully choosing eight more tunes to round out my personal Marmalade sampler. I'd like to share with you my list of what I consider 10 sublime songs by this vastly underrated — in the US anyway — British band. If you love guitars and beautiful vocal harmonies the way I do, I really think you’ll enjoy these.

Top 10 Songs by Marmalade:

  1. Kaleidoscope
  2. Love is Hard to Re-Arrange
  3. Mama
  4. Lady of Catrine
  5. Life Is
  6. Sunrise Regret
  7. I See the Rain
  8. Reflections of My Life
  9. Is Your Life Your Own
  10. Sarah

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