While playing the Everly Brothers "2 Yanks in England"(66)album i heard the track "Fifi THe Flea",it dawned on me i had heard this before,of course The Hollies recorded it too on "Would You Believe"(66),it was written by them but i also come across this song again on the album "Two of a Kind"(67)by Paul and Barry Ryan,all 3 versions are damn good,though all 3 have different arrangements,The Hollies version is sparce with voice and acoustic guitar,The Everlys version has a droning organ playing in the background,but my fave version is Paul and Barry Ryans,as its replete with lovely harpsichord all the way through.Anyone know if anyone else recorded this song??Or has anyone got a fave song that has been covered by a few other artistes?
I wish i could get a copy of that early Paul and Barry Ryan on CD with "ICan't Make A Friend" on it. Why is that double CD of theirs i found so full of junk? I can't even make it through the hit Eloise and cant figure out who could like most of that stuff. But their psych songs are good, like Pictures of Today or Madrigal. I have a seventies kinda glam single by them i like as well, but the title escapes me. But i wish theyd release their worthy output!
I like the two versions of Donovan's "You Just Gotta Know My Mind" by Dana Gillespie and Karen Verros (i think that's right) and they rock out like Herman's Hermits version of Museum does as well. Sometimes it's the cover that does the trick!
Mr Wisdom's Whopper
Mar 4, 2012 - 10:54PM
Re: Fifi the Flea
Ronnie Burns does a version on his album. He also had a number of tracks written for him by the Bee Gees
I like the Ronnie Burns version of Coal Man.
I do wonder why there is no release of the Paul and Barry Ryan 1968 MGM lp on CD. It doesn't even get many mentions in discographies either.
The glam-ish single I was thinking of is "Glad To Know You" from around 1972 I think. It's a pretty good tune as well.
Anyone have that MGM album and can give some info about it? I know "I Can't Make A Friend" is on Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks, but that's all I really know about it.
Mar 5, 2012 - 1:05PM
Re: Fifi the Flea
'Paul & Barry Ryan' (MGM 1968) was only issued in the UK in both stereo and mono versions. It is by far the rarest Paul and / or Barry Ryan album. It was going to be reissued by Revola as a two-fer CD with their first (Decca) album 'Two of A Kind'. In the end 'Two of A Kind' was issued as a stand alone. Probably licensing issues with the MGM catalogue (isn't it always licensing issues?). I have both stereo and mono versions of the MGM album on very good CDR rips, never come across a LP edition in either mono or stereo. Track list for both versions is as follows:
Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut
Room Full Of Questions
I Can't Make A Friend
Are You Ready For Me
24,349th In Sucsession
Why Baby, Why
The Stars In The Sky
One Packet Of Cigarettes
Little Miss Sunshine
We Are Going Home
Most are covers but done extremely well, as well they might be with the likes of Les Reed arranging and orchestrating them. His 'Big Drum' is an almost freakbeat vocal version here (Reed's own instro version was isued as a 45 B side by him)
It's a good album similar in tone to 'Two of A Kind'. The closer, 'We Are Going Home' is a self-penned number and sounds intriguing given that Paul Ryan then wihdrew from live work and stuck to writing,thereafter so almost like a 'goodbye' note. I hope it gets the reissue it deserves some day. I also like all the Barry Ryan solo albums by the way!
Thanks Paul! All good info. I also hope it gets a reissue. I'm a fan of just about all 1968 albums and this sounds like no exception. Good to hear about the solo albums.
I just found that double CD (I think it may be German) that has them both on the cover wearing striped jackets (I think) a tough slog because there was just too much MOR ballad stuff. But '67 and '68 seem to have been good years for them overall, and I do like that early seventies single as well, as noted in an earlier post. Which do you prefer for that MGM, the mono or stereo? Any noticeable differences?
Just saw this RARE clip y´day by legendary Swe group The Steampacket aka The Longboatmen of "Take her anytime" fame.
Mar 6, 2012 - 12:14AM
Re: Fifi the Flea
I prefer the stereo version it is noticibly different to the mono, which is also very good quality. The Ryans step father was a big wheel in the music publishing business and knew all the best people to get a great sound for his boys. I have the Repertoire 2xcd best of and all the original LPs (other than the MGM P&B Ryan). I know some of the later stuff sounds MOR at first but it is not Englebert Humperdink! It's quality stuff in my opinion and grows very easily, well it did on me. 'Sings Paul Ryan', Barry's first solo MGM LP is the strongest or most dramatic but they al have great tracks on I think. 'Fifi The Flea' for some reason juist seemed 'wrong' as a song, but I guess the Everley's version is about the most palatable.
Sorry Paul,i have to disagree with you concerning "Fifi the Flea"on the Ryans "Two of a kind"cd,i think it sounds pretty good with the harpsichord on it,i actually like all the versions of this track but The Ryans version is my fave so far,dont get me wrong its not a classic by any means,but a nice little ditty to my ears.Just shows how people hear things differently!!
As for the cd released by Revola,which contains the albums "Barry Ryan sings Paul Ryan"and"Barry Ryan",this is a cracker of a cd,love the ott orchestrations and arrangements,top class pop imo!!Paul were you not at the time considered to do the liners for The Ryans cd reissues?
Joe, the 2 CD collection you refer to is a singles compilation; the majority of their A Sides from '65 to '67 are overly orchestrated slush. The better tracks are generally to be found on the flip sides.
I have the MGM LP from '68; pretty sure it's the mono pressing. Have not dug it out in a while but it definitely has some good tracks on it. Both albums are very much in the "mixed bag" category.
Thanks Scott. It seems that was the fate of many sixties bands that had a lot of different forces guiding their careers. I'm thinking of Herman's Hermits who had this whole image thing to be cute and sing music hall numbers but then there's the stuff that has a psych or "bendy" sound to it. Seems like Paul & Barry Ryan could vacillate between genres.
You're right, it's the singles collection I have, and it does have "Madrigal", "Pictures of Today" and "Glad To Know You" (all in a row) so it's not all bad, but there are a lot of songs on there that didn't do anything for me at all. I agree with your slush assessment of a lot of those CDs. But when they were good they could be very good!
Mar 6, 2012 - 11:41AM
Re: Fifi the Flea
American popband the Sidekicks even named their LP on RCA after this track. The version is OK, but nothing special really.
Mar 6, 2012 - 12:28PM
Re: Fifi the Flea
Yes Stuart, I did the liners but then Joe at Revola decided to write his own instead. I hav the Italian and German issues of some of Barry Ryan's solo LPs as well which had a couple of different tracks to the UK issues which were used as bonus tracks.