Monday, May 4, 2009

Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys - Just A Poor Boy (1966)

by Richie Unterberger

The dozen tracks on obscure Australian rocker Mike Furber's 1967 LP were, as was often the case for the time, culled from a variety of sources, including two 1966 singles that saw some Australian regional chart action, "Just a Poor Boy" and "You Stole My Love." It's fair British Invasion-styled rock, though it doesn't stop with just imitating overseas trends, as most of the songs are themselves covers of British and American tunes. Some of the British ones covered, in fact, are quite obscure: "You Stole My Love" was first done (and handled much better, to be honest) by Graham Gouldman's mid-'60s band the Mockingbirds, while "Stop" was an early Moody Blues original. Furber was an okay but uneven singer, and in fact sounds rather horribly off-pitch on "Stop!" He also seemed to favor fairly tough R&B material that was actually a little too tough for his ordinary range, rather in the way British singers like Neil Christian and Dave Berry recorded some hard R&B that was a little at odds with their mild, pop-oriented voices. The moody, tuneful Merseybeat-ish beat ballad "You're Back Again" and the similar (but harder rocking) "Love Talk" are the standouts, both because they're not overly familiar songs and because they're more suited toward Furber's voice than the soul-R&B stuff. [While it's good to have a CD reissue of this rare album available, as packaging goes, this makes even the skimpiest bootleg look good. Not only are there no liner notes or original release labels or dates; there are not even any song titles listed. (There are, however, two photos, each of them printed three times in various places on the cover and inner sleeve.)
1. Just A Poor Boy 2. That’S When Happiness Began 3. You Stole My Love 4. Diddy Wah Diddy 5. Mercy, Mercy 6. If You Need Me 7. Love Talk 8. Stop 9. You’Re Back Again 10. Take This Hammer 11. It’S Gonna Work Out Fine 12. Mailman Bring Me No More Blues
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