Downliners Sect — “Glendora”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 20, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

587) The Downliners Sect*— “Glendora”

UK mod/freakbeat revival of a Perry Como chestnut about a guy’s infatuation with a . . . mannequin turns it into a “pounding, proto-psychedelic” stunner (Bruce Eder, https://www.allmusic.com/album/sectuality-mw0000465479) Mike Stax says:

The band’s rough-handed delivery and perverse sense of fun are well to the fore on “Glendora,” a song about a doomed love obsession with a shopwindow mannequin. [The] snarling fuzz guitar leads the song over a relentless smashing beat . . . [and] lyrics [delivered] with delicious facetiousness. . . . [I]t failed to sell in the same numbers as Perry Como’s . . . tamer 1956 original.

(liner notes to the Nuggets II comp)

Who were the Sect? Stax tells us that “[f]rom the beginning [1964], they were outcasts — too young, too uncouth, and just a tad too eccentric for mass consumption. However, their raw, irreverent approach to R&B, often laced with a strong streak of black humor, won them a cult following”. (liner notes to the Nuggets II comp) Bruce Eder expands and inflates:

[They gave us] some of the most delightfully raw and unaffected, downright affectionate British renditions of American rock & roll and R&B, so unstylish that they achieve a kind of beguiling, offhanded stylishness all their own . . . [The] Sect thump away with more enthusiasm than distinctive talent or personalities, or inventiveness. . . . [but] there’s just something so real and honest about the way these guys plunked and plodded their way through their music, running on sheer bravado and a genuine affection at their core — it didn’t propel them to stardom (except maybe in Scandinavia), but it makes their stuff worth hearing . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/sectuality-mw0000465479

Richie Unterberger deflates:

Of all the British R&B bands to follow the Rolling Stones’ footsteps, the Downliners Sect were arguably the rawest. The Sect didn’t as much interpret the sound of Chess Records as attack it, with a finesse that made the Pretty Things seem positively suave in comparison. Long on crude energy and hoarse vocals but short on originality and songwriting talent, the Sect never had a British hit, although they had some sizable singles in other European countries.

Good? No, not really. As performers the Sect didn’t only verge on inept, they were at times downright careless, as if they couldn’t be bothered to polish things a bit in the studio. [T]hey were really a pedestrian British R&B band with a propensity toward parched humor and odd novelty tunes that hasn’t aged well.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-downliners-sect-mn0000117803/biography; https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-definitive-downliners-sect-singles-as-bs-mw0000080001

And Angelfire.com adds that:

The band started to play frequent gigs at the many rock clubs in London and soon got a reputation to be one of the best rhythm ’n’ blues bands in town, comparable with Rolling Stones and Yardbirds. [They] played . . . tough no-compromising rhythm ’n’ blues but . . . also put in some humorous stints in their live-act. . . . . Don Craine started to wear his famous Sherlock Holmes-hat . . . . “Little Egypt” . . . . reached the charts in Sweden in the spring of 1965 where it was no. 2 at the Top ten list in April.

https://www.angelfire.com/rock3/yardbird_sect/secthistory1.html

“Oh, I’m in love with a dolly named Glendora. She works in the window of a big department store. She’s got eyes of blue, she’s got hair like gold. She’s never been young and never get old. Oh, Glendora, I gotta see more of you. She’s so shy that I don’t know how I found her. With three big body guards always working around her. One just nods, and two just grins, and three’s got a mouth full of safety pins. Oh, Glendora, I gotta see more of you. Late last night, I saw there’d been some changes. And I stood back when they started re-arranging. She lost her wig, she lost her charms. They took off her legs and pulled off her arms. Oh, Glendora, I gotta see more of you. Oh, Glendora, I gotta see more of you. I gotta see more of you. . . .”

*Angelfire.com explains that the band was originally named the Downliners after Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Down The Line”. In a later incarnation, the band became the Downliners Sect, “a name which the band members found more exciting, with a touch of mystery.” (https://www.angelfire.com/rock3/yardbird_sect/secthistory1.html)

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Here is Perry Como. Actually, this is a pretty great version!

Here is the original by Jack Lewis:

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2 thoughts on “Downliners Sect — “Glendora”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 20, 2022

  1. Presumably the Sect version was based on the 1963 cover by Billy Young:

    Backing by The Crew w/Darlene Love & The Blossoms on vocals

    Like

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