(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Screaming Lord Sutch was an early and, unfortunately, now obscure British rocker. He did not really have that much musical ability of his own, but was able to collect about himself a collection of current and future British rock superstars. His band came and went, but included some really big names.
He was not a Lord at all, he was a commoner named David Edward Sutch, born 19401110. He took the stage name Screaming Lord Sutch, third Earl of Harrow (I have also seen fifth Earl quoted) in the early 1960s, and was pretty much known by that afterwards. He took the “Screaming” part from Screaming Jay Hawkins, who we mentioned last week in the Arthur Brown istallment.
Genius is often accompanied with some form of madness, and in this case was tragically true. David hanged himself on 19990616, ending a very bizarre career in both music and politics. It is said that he perhaps was bipolar, and judging from some of his acts, that may well be correct. In five days it will be the 11th year after his death.
Let us start out by what is probably his most well remembered song, Hands of Jack the Ripper. I looked for the one from the same named album, but was unable to find it. This one will have to do. The reason that I wanted to find the one from the album is that Keith Moon (THe Who) drummed and Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple Mark I, II, and III) played lead guitar. However, this is the earliest one that I could find.
Now, this is extremely progressive music for 1963! It is quite prescient of rock to come. I could not find a list of artists on this particular cut, but the keyboards sound very much like Nickey Hopkins craft. If any one knows who performed on this 45, please respond in the comments. Also interesting to me was the way the lyrics changed over the years, as did the name of the tune. It was at time just called Jack the Ripper. Later I shall include a newer version. The Decca logo is also interesting, and the pictures of him are accurate.
He did traditional rockabilly/transitional rock and roll as well. Here is Come Back Baby from 1964.
Here is an even earlier song of his, ‘Til the Following Night. It is from 1961 (I was four years old), and still has prescient tendencies, but obviously rooted in the late 1950s. It sure seems to me that Hopkins is playing piano, but I could be wrong.
David loved the really good “classic” American rockers from the 1950s. Here is a cover of Good Golly, Miss Molly, written by Richard Penniman (Little Richard, definitely worthy of a post of his own some day). I prefer Penniman’s version, but this cut from 1961 is not bad.
Check out this album. It is Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends, on Cotillion Records. That was also Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s label until it went defunct. Note the talent on the label that is shown early in the video. Page, Bonham, Beck, Redding, Hopkins. Can one ask for more?
I have this album on 8-track tape. If anyone has the technology to make a CD of it, I would be happy to pay for mailing costs, the cost of a blank CD, and return mailing costs.
I have been unable to find any tracks on any video or audio service that contains the album Hands of Jack the Ripper from 1972. This was noteworthy because the lyrics had changed significantly, and also because of the lineup of the band. Ritchie Blackmore was the lead guitarist, Nicky Simper was one of the bassets (Simper was the base player for Deep Purple Mark I), the Brox couple on supporting vocals, and Keith Moon on drums. If you can find a video of Hands of Jack the Ripper, please put it in the comments. That was a fine record, and the version of Ripper is outstanding.
For the last cut of Lord Sutch, here he is with Jerry Lee Lewis. I hope that you enjoy. It is more news than performance, but Jerry Lee does get in there at the end of it. The former Mrs. Translator and I went to see him live in 1978 and have some excellent pictures of him. On Hands of Jack the Ripper Sutch does a cover of Great Balls of Fire.
Late in his sort of brief life, David went into politics. However, he had done so much earlier but with little success. He founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983, was a spoiler in a couple of votes, but never achieved any elected office.
David Sutch was a visionary and an extremely effective person who sort of catalyzed the British rock “scene” in the 1960s and 1970s. Without him, the cross pollination of British music likely would have been much poorer than it turned out to be. We owe him gratitude for making music much richer than it would otherwise have been. Also, I sort of liked his voice.
If anyone has a lead on online hits for Hands of Jack the Ripper, I would appreciate them. I found the record at Amazon in CD format, but the samples were too paltry to post here. I hope that you like this foray into early British music.
Crossposted at Dailykos.com