Friday, June 30, 2006

Soul Survivors - "Hey Gyp"

Here we go with the latest reason to flip those records over. Today's song, "Hey Gyp" is the b-side of the Soul Survivors' huge hit from the fall of 1967, "Expressway To Your Heart". Of course, the hit side is pretty good in its own right and still gets spun on oldies radio. "Hey Gyp" most likely only gets spun around my house and little else.

The song was written and first recorded in 1965 by Donovan, under the title "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)". The Animals also had a go at the tune. It appeared on their Animalism album here in the States. There are various other versions out there as well, from Santa Esmeralda to the Hoodoo Gurus.

While Donovan's original recording is folky, with harmonica and acoustic guitar, the Soul Survivors turn up the volume. Unlike the blue-eyed soul of their biggest hit, their take on "Hey Gyp" has a near garage sound and is a bit trippy. It starts with a clean sounding, mid-sixties styled, rock and roll guitar and a few hand-claps. The vocals come in, "Buy you a Chevrolet, buy you a Chevrolet, buy you a Chevrolet, just give me some of your love girl". The singer subsequently offers a Ford Mustang and a Cadillac, the latter punched up with added wah-wah guitar. Then song then goes into semi-freakout mode, with lots of drums and swirling guitar. After a few more lines, the trippyness is embellished with pleading vocals, drums and a stinging guitar. Finally, there are whistles and a few other effects as the song fades.

For you record collectors and others who are interested, "Hey Gyp" ought to be an easy find, being the flipside of such a big hit. You ought to be able to locate a nice playing copy for just a buck or two, which is always a plus.


Larry Grogan said...

I'm pretty sure that 'Hey Gyp' is just a reworking of an old blues tune 'Chevrolet' by Lonnie Young.

Todd Lucas said...

Larry, that makes sense. The lyrics definitely sound like a blues number. Thanks...