THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
474) Chris Farlowe — “We’re Doing Fine”
Farlowe is “widely regarded as Britain’s finest ever blues and soul singer” (http://www.merseysidermagazine.com/site/features/chris-farlowe-interview/), and boy does he show it here. While he is best known for his iconic cover of the Rolling Stones’s “Out of Time”, today I am featuring his cover of a Dee Dee Warwick song from his second album (’66). Bruce Eder says that Farlowe “roars out of the starting gate [on the album] with a sizzling rendition of “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted” and “We’re Doing Fine[.]” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-art-of-chris-farlowe-mw0000838826)
Eder gives us some history:
Born John Henry Deighton . . . [Farlowe] reached his early teens just as the skiffle boom was breaking in England, and was inspired by Lonnie Donegan to enter music. His first band was his own John Henry Skiffle Group, where he played guitar as well as sang, but he gave up playing to concentrate on his voice, as he made the switch to rock & roll. He eventually took the name Chris Farlowe, the surname appropriated from American jazz guitarist Tal Farlow, and was fronting a group called the Thunderbirds . . . . They built their reputation as a live act in England and Germany, and slowly switched from rock & roll to R&B during the early years of the ’60s. . . . [T]hey issued a series of five singles thru 1966, all of which got enthusiastic critical receptions while generating poor sales. In 1966, with his EMI contract up, Farlowe was snatched up by Andrew Oldham . . . . [H]e saw a Top 40 chart placement with his introduction of the Jagger/Richards song “Think” . . . . That summer, he had the biggest hit of his career with his rendition of the Stones’ “Out of Time,” . . which reached number one on the British charts.https://www.allmusic.com/artist/chris-farlowe-mn0000109437/biography;
Farlowe had a lucky connection with the Flamingo Club in London. First, it got him noticed by Oldham:
Hanging out at London’s famous Flamingo Club . . . meant that Chris came to the attention of . . . Andrew Loog Oldham. Originally employed at the club to collect bottles, cook hotdogs and wash up, Andrew had plans to start a new record label and club owner, Rik Gunnel, saw enough potential in him to provide the financial backing. Andrew was a huge fan of Chris’s voice and was keen to sign him to the new Immediate label.https://www.temple-music.com/chris-farlowe/
Second, it got him noticed by Otis Redding:
“I was playing a show at the Flamingo club in London and someone told me [Redding] was in the audience watching me sing. I thought they were having me on but afterwards I was in the dressing room, the door opened and he walked in. He said, ‘Man, you’re a great singer, you’re a soul brother’. He told me he was doing a TV show on Friday and asked me to appear on it with him.” That show was one of the most celebrated episodes of the classic TV series Ready Steady Go (you can see clips from it on YouTube). Otis performed several songs, Chris had his own spot and the two – accompanied by Eric Burdon of the Animals – join forces for a rousing finale. Chris remembers, “After that we did some more concerts together and became good friends, so it was a terrible shock when he died.”http://www.merseysidermagazine.com/site/features/chris-farlowe-interview/
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Here, Farlowe sings the song live on the BBC:
Here is Dee Dee Warwick’s original:
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