Gary Walker & the Rain — “The View”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — June 13, 2022


483) Gary Walker & the Rain — “The View”

“The View” is a stunning number from Album No. 1, one of Great Britain’s great lost pop psych albums — only it wasn’t really lost, as it was released in Japan, and it wasn’t really British, as it was led by a Yank. As Voltaire famously said, “[t]he Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.” As Richie Unterberger once said, the Walker Brothers “weren’t British, they weren’t brothers, and their real names weren’t Walker”.

What is the story here? Let’s go to Unterberger:

Californians Scott Engel, John Maus, and Gary Leeds, were briefly huge stars in England . . . . Engel and Maus were playing together in Hollywood when drummer Leeds suggested they form a trio and try to make it in England. And they did — with surprising swiftness, the[ “Walker Brothers”] hit the top of the British charts with “Make It Easy on Yourself” in 1965. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” repeated the feat the following year . . . . For a few months they experienced frenzied adulation almost on the level of the Beatles and the Stones . . . . [T]hey were far more pop than rock. . . . favor[ing] orchestrated ballads . . . emulat[ing] the Righteous Brothers . . . . In the intensely competitive days of 1967, the Walkers’ brand of pop suddenly become passé, and the group disbanded in the face of diminishing success and Scott’s increasingly fruitful solo career. Scott ran off a series of Top Ten British solo albums in the late ’60s, which have attracted a sizable cult with their idiosyncratic marriage of Scott’s brooding, insular songs and ornate orchestral arrangements. [see #396] Gary Walker released a few singles and an album with his group the Rain in a much harder-rocking guitar-oriented format.

Vernon Joynson adds that:

[Gary Walker] was ousted in 1967. As Gary Leeds he’d been in the early Standells. Then in 1966 frustrated at his limited role in the [Walker Brothers] he began a solo career. His first two efforts were minor hits and then he formed Rain with former Cryin’ Shames guitarist Paul Crane and ex-Masterminds’ guitarist Joey Molland.

(The Tapestry of Delights Revisited)

And the Rising Storm elaborates:

[Album Number 1 is] a genuine lost album which has only recently seen the light of day outside Japan and which will come as a pleasant surprise to aficionados of Brit psych. Gary Leeds was only ever a third wheel to the Walker Brothers, a non-singing drummer thumping the tubs on live dates and TV appearances . . . . However, such was the impact of the Walkers in Europe and Japan that, when the trio folded, Gary was easily convinced by conniving manager Maurice King to put together a new band in England . . . . Allegedly Molland’s interview ran thus. Leeds: You look like Paul McCartney. Can you sing like him? Molland: Yes. L: Can you play guitar like Eric Clapton? M: Yes. L: You’re in. Serendipitously, he really could do both, besides proving an adept songwriter. . . . The band’s recording career kicked off with a passable cover of Spooky that . . . sold well [only] in Japan, where the Walkers had belatedly achieved godlike status. On the basis of this UK Polydor permitted them to record an album, but then inexplicably refused to release it. Only in Japan, where the band’s local label, Philips, was crying out for further product, did it hit the shelves . . . . On the ensuing tour of Japan the band were mobbed by teenage girls . . . . [T]he band called it a day just a year after coming together. Molland went on to be a cornerstone of Badfinger . . . .

Finally, Vernon Joynson again:

[Album No. 1] only released in Japan and has long been established as one of the world’s rarest records . . . . It is thought to have been withdrawn from sale almost immediately because of Molland’s contractual commitments to The Iveys.

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