The Sorrows — “Take a Heart”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 7, 2022

407) The Sorrows — “Take a Heart”

Primal freakbeat — as the Nuggets II comp says:

“Compelling. Unusual. There was no precedent for [it] when . . . released in August 1965. The throbbing bass-and-drum pattern pulsates with sexual tension, egged on by spiky guitar outbursts, while [the] vocals drip with menace and foreboding. . . . hypnotic heat”.

The Coventry Music Museum says it was “an original piece of blues with a foreboding quality, focused superbly by [the] brooding vocals.” The Coventry Music Museum? Let it explain:

[E]ntrepreneur Larry Page[‘s] bid to see the ‘Coventry Sound’ rival Liverpool’s Mersey Beat . . . was sadly a non-starter. It was looking a tad unlikely that a band from Coventry would chart in the sixties [until] The Sorrows became the first . . . Cov’s fave freakbeat band were formed in the early 60’s. . . . They tended to dress in black and played the blues like they meant it, with [Don] Maughn’s raw vocals setting the local audiences alight. . . . They were eventually . . . signed [by the Piccadilly label] and were allowed to release their self penned song I Don’t Want To Be Free . . . . They played Ready Steady Go, but the single failed to make a dent in the charts. . . . The second single Baby went the way of the first, there were talks of splitting then up came single number three Take A Heart. Originally written by Miki Dallon . . . for a band called The Boys Blue . . . . An appearance on TV’s Ready Steady Go saw the single rise to number 21 in the UK charts. It was also proved a smash as they say in mainland Europe, especially Italy and Germany where foreign language version were recorded . . . . After various attempts to match Take A Heart failed . . . Don Maughn (now reverting to his real name [Don] Fardon), left for a successful solo career.

Yes, that Don Fardon, the “Indian Reservation” Don Fardon. In fact, the CMM says that that song’s “tribal drum sound . . . was closely modeled on ‘Take a Heart.’” Oh, and the CMM offers this tidbit: one of the Sorrows’s mothers called them “a sorrowful lot when practising – hence the name “Sorrows”.”

Mark Deming provides some more band history:

The Sorrows started out playing tough, moody rock & roll with an R&B accent, and like many bands of the Beat era, elements of freakbeat and psychedelia would find their way into their music as the decade wore on . . . . After making a name on the local club circuit, in time-honored fashion [they] honed their skills playing a month-long engagement in Germany, where the punishing schedule of playing as long as ten hours a night made them an estimable live act. . . . “Take a Heart” . . . became a chart hit, in large part thanks to extensive pirate radio airplay . . . . The success of “Take a Heart” led to Piccadilly releasing an album . . . . [which] stiffed on the charts, and after another two singles came and went without notice, bassist Philip Packham resigned, and vocalist Don Fardon soon followed. The rest of the group soldiered on . . . .

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The Sorrows performing on Beat Club:

The Boys Blue:

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