Tuesday, August 02, 2005
John Fred & His Playboy Band - Miss Knocker
When John Fred passed away this past April, message boards and mailing lists that I read started filling up with lists of favorites. These lists were a not so subtle reminder that Fred wasn't all "Judy In Disguise", his huge #1 hit from 1967. He started recording under his own name back in the late 1950's and released some real goodies prior to his major chart success. Unfortunately, I haven't tracked down his earlier stuff yet. Brian has some of it, so maybe he'll impart his wisdom sometime soon. Lucky for me that John Fred & His Playboy Band also did something really good and interesting in the post "Judy" era. And even luckier that I picked it up at a record show. "Miss Knocker" is a rocker.
After leaving the Paula label, John Fred recorded an album and released four singles for Uni in the 1969/70 timeframe. "Miss Knocker" is on the last of those 45's. Or at least it is on my copy. My record is "Where's Everybody Going"/"Miss Knocker" (Uni 55220). Only trouble is, the two John Fred discographies I've seen show the record as "Come With Me"/"Where's Everybody Going". I'm not sure if they're just plain wrong or if "Miss Knocker" was only on some copies of the record. Anyhow, it also isn't on the album, so maybe it's a tough find.
"Miss Knocker" is an r&b infused rocker that sounds very much like late 60's Rolling Stones. The song reminds me a bit of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and Fred even gives us some Jagger-like vocals. It's upbeat and bouncy. It's guitars, drums and piano, without any horns to be found. There's a heavy guitar break. And despite running for 3:18, it still seems to fade too soon.
The only problem with the record is that the mix isn't very good and it saps a bit of the song's energy. Too bad but it's still really good and my own personal John Fred recommendation, if you can find a copy.