297) The Master’s Apprentices — “Wars or Hands of Time”
Richie Unterberger in All Music Guide calls this ‘66 B-side an “undiscovered classic,” Greg Shaw calls it “one of the greatest powerpop records of all time,” and Nuggets II says that:
[It is] one of the era’s most affecting [Vietnam] antiwar songs. . . . [U]nlike the typical protest merchants, who struck a stance of fist-shaking moral outrage, the Masters took a simpler, more effective course, outlining the intense personal impact war can have on people’s lives. The track describes a couple’s last embrace on a beach as a soldier bids his lover goodbye . . . .
Powerpop? Garage all the way! The song did reach #13 in Australia. It should have everywhere.
As to the Master’s Apprentices, Unterberger says that “[o]ne could easily make the case for designating the[m] as the best Australian rock band of the ’60s. . . .” They were even dubbed “the second Easybeats” at the time (liner notes to the Hands of Time comp). Unfortunately, the band never reached its true potential as guitarist and songwriter Mick Bower suffered a nervous breakdown and had to leave the band.
The band’s name reflected the group’s humbleness before bluesmen John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed and its other musical idols (Hands of Time). Just like Oasis’s album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, except that in the Master’s’ case, it likely was a genuine sentiment.
“Though I have to go, I will be thinking of you. When I’m far away, try to remember what I said the day I left. And still be dreaming of your love. Wait for the clouds to pass away. Wait for me I’ll be back some day. At dusk we said goodbye. You said you’d try hard not to cry. But I could feel a tear fall rolling on my shoulder in the wind on the beach where some day I’ll return. . . . Wars or hands of time will not destroy our dreams of days that are to come. All tears we shared with understanding, don’t be sad. I’ll catch the wind now home to you. . . .”