Georgie Fame — “In the Meantime”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 8, 2023


695) Georgie Fame — “In the Meantime”

I like to think I was named in honor of Georgie Fame (see #103, 169, 634). Hey, my mother used to call me Georgie, and we share the same initials (along with gluten-free items!). If only I were so cool! Anyway, just to clarify, this cocky, swinging, exuberant number is a song that no one IN THE U.S. has ever heard. It did hit #22 in the UK (#97 in the U.S) in ’65. Millie Zeiler calls it GF’s tenth best song, “[r]eleased as a stand-alone single . . . this fun, jazzy number rightfully earned its place as a gotta-dance-to favorite.” ( Move on Up says:

Filled with soul and groove, ‘In the Meantime’ is absolutely perfect in every single way! If I was in a band I’d walk onstage to this belter of a track. Jazz and RnB intertwined to create a soulful masterpiece. Georgies’s vocal is spot on here and sounds sublime, the trumpets are crisp and the overall sound is smooth. Great track!

 As to Georgie, Max Bell says:

Georgie Fame . . . is one of British R&B music’s founding fathers. . . . [with immense] cultural influence. . . . The black music he championed with his band The Blue Flames brought new sounds to Swinging London and bossed venues like the Flamingo Club and the Marquee where he turned the English mod movement on to a whole bag of soul and authentic US urban and country sounds and also the ska and early reggae he heard in the Jamaican cafes and clubs in the Ladbroke Grove area of London. . . .

Steve Huey adds that:

Georgie Fame’s swinging, surprisingly credible blend of jazz and American R&B earned him a substantial following in his native U.K., where he scored three number one singles during the ’60s. . . . Early in his career, he . . . peppered his repertoire with Jamaican ska and bluebeat tunes, helping to popularize that genre in England; during his later years, he was one of the few jazz singers of any stripe to take an interest in the vanishing art of vocalese, and earned much general respect from jazz critics on both sides of the Atlantic.

As to Fame’s early history, Bell tells us that:

[He] depart[ed] to London aged 16 to seek his fortune. He touted his talents up and down the legendary Tin Pan Alley area of Denmark Street just off Soho where he was spotted by impresarios Lionel Bart and Larry Parnes who christened him Georgie Fame – somewhat against his will. Working with touring rock and rollers like Joe Brown, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran young Fame became battle-hardened and was snapped up by Billy Fury in 1961 to lead his backing band The Blue Flames for whom he arranged and sang. The Blue Flames and Fury parted company and so Georgie took over . . . .

Steve Huey again:

The[ Flames’] budding reputation landed them a residency at the West End jazz club the Flamingo, and thanks to the American servicemen who frequented the club and lent Fame their records, [Fame] discovered the Hammond B-3 organ, becoming one of the very few British musicians to adopt the instrument in late 1962. From there, the Blue Flames became one of the most popular live bands in London. In 1963, they signed with EMI Columbia, and in early 1964 released their acclaimed debut LP, Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo. It wasn’t a hot seller at first, and likewise their first three singles all flopped, but word of the group was spreading. Finally, in early 1965, Fame hit the charts with “Yeh Yeh,” . . . . [which] went all the way to number one on the British charts . . . . His 1965 LP Fame at Last reached the British Top 20, and after several more minor hits, he had another British number one with “Getaway” in 1966. After one more LP with the original Blue Flames, 1966’s Sweet Thing, Fame broke up the band and recorded solo . . . .

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